If you have decided that your child is old enough and responsible enough to have their first mobile phone, another decision immediately presents itself. What phone do you buy for them? Inevitably if you ask your child, he or she will want the latest expensive model, with hundreds of features they probably won’t use and internet access that they may use to play games, talk to their friends and potentially stumble across inappropriate content. So, it might be a better idea to choose the phone yourself, at least at first. That way you can ease your child into owning a phone and teach them to be responsible for it.
- The first consideration is cost. Buying a younger child or teen an expensive phone is not the best idea, especially as their first phone is probably the one they’ll lose the fastest. If this is a phone you want them to carry to school with them for safety reasons, an expensive model(iPhone, Nexus One, HTC Evo etc.) is at much higher risk of being stolen, or even of your child being harassed for it. They may argue that their peers will make fun of them if they have an old phone – respond that they shouldn’t have their phone out in school where people will see it!
- A big choice when buying a mobile phone under usual circumstances is whether to go on contract or pay as you go. Contracts are difficult, as it has to be you, the parent, who signs it and therefore you who pays the bill. Most phone contracts don’t actually have limits, so if you go over the given amount of minutes and texts you’re automatically charged for them. One pay as you go, if your credit runs out then that’s it until you top up again. Pay as you go, therefore, is better for a child’s phone. Although they may not intend to go over the limit, on contract it is quite hard to tell when you have or haven’t. With a pay as you go phone you can give your child a certain amount of credit per week or month and teach them to make it last.
- Another thing you should take into consideration are the functions that phone will have: Wi-Fi, GPS, Music Player, Camera. Like we said before you should not spend money on buying an expensive phone just to have those functions which are useless for a kid and could distract him from his usual activities: dolls, trucks, mini toys, sport activities and so on. Focus on a phone that has the basic functions and a long battery, as you might forget you have to charge it for your kid.
- In the end don’t forget to choose a resistant phone and for this you have to make a long debate. Kids usually drop their phones without even notice and they don’t care so much as other. So don’t hurry and buy a thin or fragile phone, just go and choose a hard one and your kid will love to play and throw it.
When your child proves responsible both financially and physically with their first phone, there’s no reason you can’t buy them a newer model when they have earned it.