A guide to buying your child’s first phone
It’s always difficult to know when the best time is to get your child their first phone and what device to get them. As a general rule of thumb, parents see the transition from primary school to high school as the perfect time to get their little ones a phone, should they need to contact them.
But what will your child need the phone for – just to get in contact with you? Will they need their own contract or will a pay as you go SIM suffice? There are a lot of options out there and it can be overwhelming. To help you make your decision, here’s a guide to buying a phone for your child.
How much should you spend?
There’s no right answer to this question. You’ll be well aware that the costs of phones are rising every year, as newer handsets are released. It’s unrealistic to assume you would spend between £800 and £1,000 on the first phone for a child who has to learn the responsibility of owning one. Be prepared for the fact your little one might be a bit more rough with their first device as they get used to using it.
The phone will be an investment for you as much as them so you’ll want to part with much less money. That doesn’t mean you cut out quality! You could buy a standard feature phone which will allow your child to call you and send messages – but that’s about it. They are a cheap option which will limit what the device is used for.
It’s more likely you’ll invest in a smartphone for your son or daughter. This will give them many more options in terms of downloading apps and internet usage but this can be used to your advantage. If you are an Apple user, you might be inclined to invest in an iPhone to allow for FaceTime, if your kid is ever away on a school trip, for example.
So, if you want a more recent phone but aren’t willing to part with the asking price – consider a refurbished phone. We would steer clear of auction sites mainly because you can’t guarantee the condition of the item or if it’s been wiped. Go through a company you can trust like musicMagpie so you’ll be safe in the knowledge that the phone has been checked, works, has been cleared of any previous user’s data and comes with a 12 month warranty.
What features do we need?
When you come to picking the phone to buy, you’ll want to consider the features of the device before you pay for it. What do you both need from the phone? Does your child want to use the phone for games and YouTube as well as getting in touch with mum and dad?
If their interest doesn’t stretch far beyond YouTube and gaming, then consider buying an older generation phone – like a Samsung Galaxy S6 or iPhone 6. Whilst they aren’t the most recent device, they’ll be more than capable of doing what you need them to do. One thing we would advise is keeping an eye on games with in-app purchases.
Does the camera mean a lot to your child – are they an avid selfie taker or the one responsible for holiday snaps? Consider investing in an iPhone 7 or Galaxy S8 to meet their needs.
With a smartphone, there’s a strong chance your child will start using social media. It’s important they follow the guidelines set by the likes of Facebook and Twitter who have a minimum age limit for using their services. It’s also important your little ones only speak to the people they know online – be careful about what they post and ensure mum or dad can look at their profiles at any time.
To limit their usage online, you could consider looking at deals with a smaller allowance for internet usage. Caps can be put onto your child’s allowance too because once they go over, the charges can be enormously high.
Pay as you Go or Contract?
Could you justify putting your child on a hefty contract; will they get the use out of it or will you pay over the odds? It may make more sense to get your child a pay as you go SIM that can be topped up as and when its necessary.
A SIM only deal can work out cheaper as you’re only paying for airtime – it’ll be particularly useful if you’re planning on buying your kid’s phone outright. Monthly payments could be as little as £10 but with the flexibility of data usage.
Should you insure the phone?
Parents typically find if they have paid £200 or less on their child’s phone, they won’t worry too much about insuring it. If you decide against insuring your child’s phone, we would advise investing in a case and screen protector. It’ll give the phone that extra layer or protection from bumps and scratches, and should the phone be scratched at all, a case should hide it.
As children learn the ropes with using phones, we have to expect there will be a few bumps along the way. Make sure you can put on parental locks if needs be, particularly if they browse the web using Wi-Fi at home. It’ll help keep a watchful eye over the types of content they can be exposed to.
Need some help choosing a phone for your child? We’ve picked out a few best-sellers which are popular first phones:
The SE model was unveiled in 2016 and is a sturdier option for an iPhone.
Samsung Galaxy S6
The S6 is a sleek and shiny phone, and as it’s a few years older, the price will be much lower than the S9.
Huawei has become the latest player in the smartphone market; with a brilliant camera and a much lower price, this would be perfect for your kid.
Sony Xperia Z5
The Xperia is waterproof and there is plenty of storage for apps and pictures.
HTC One M8
The M8 is a shiny, rounded phone which is as beautiful as the rest.
Nokia Lumia 930
A great, sturdy phone with plenty of storage.