Some children take their first steps into the digital world at the tender age of one, when they discover Elmo apps on their parents’ iPad. When we give them their first mobile phones, they already know the Internet, the first usage conventions and how mobile devices work. There’s no denying it: it’s a very savvy generation.
However, when we are children, there are other things we look forward to more than a first mobile phone . There is a time when almost all children are counting down with a growing enthusiasm that is proportional to their parents’ fears. This is the moment when they take the keys to their cars on the cyber highway: when they sit behind the wheel of their digital life.
We want to continue to protect them, and we have several ways of doing so. Of all the useful advice and recommendations to protect our families on the net, the fundamental and most effective measure is information and communication. Today, online safety is already one more lesson that parents must learn. Before we give them the talk about the stork and the kids, we have to talk to them, let’s say, about “the bits and bytes.”
We want the children’s experience with smartphones to be a positive one. We strive to teach good technology habits so that they don’t become addicted to using their phone and spend too much time in front of the screens. We instil goodness and integrity in the hope that they will never become involved in cyber-bullying episodes, either as victims or as perpetrators. This mental preparation is essential, but it is only half the equation.
The other half is technological readiness: finding the right device for each child. This work is essential, and you are responsible for it. Before you choose a phone, think about the reasons you buy it. Is the main reason to be able to communicate after school? To be connected when your child is on the road? Maybe you only want it for emergencies, just in case. And the big question: at what age should you buy your child a smartphone?
If your child is still young, you want a phone that is very easy to use – one that only has to call and to message features, for example. If you like to travel by car, you could use a mobile phone that can also be used to listen to music and watch videos. If your child has entered adolescence, you may want to look for a phone that is suitable for this stage that is more complete. Parental controls vary by brand, so find out about the different options and think about what’s most important to you: monitoring usage, tracking your child’s location, limiting access, etc.
Of course, the price has to be considered as well. Children’s mobile phones are very likely to get lost or broken, so you don’t want to spend too much money on a top-quality technological device that will get smeared with butter and jam and end up being trampled on in the playground. Good quality basic phones can be found at fairly reasonable prices.
Here is a selection of what we believe are the best phones for children. We have broken down the list by age and by the differential advantage of the device.
List of the Best Mobile Phones for children
Best phones for kids under 8
Better parental controls: DOKI SMARTWATCH S
Best value for money: BLU TANK XTREME 2.4
Maximum simplicity: NOKIA 3310 3G
Better parental controls: SMARTPHONE MONQI KIDS
Best price: LG K7 4G K330 LTE
The best for music and video: MOTO G4 PLAY
Best parental controls: HUAWEI HONOR 8 LITE
Best Value: SAMSUNG GALAXY J3 EMERGE 4G LTE
Best First iPhone: APPLE iPhone 7