If you’re struggling on whether or not to get your pre-teen a smartphone, you might be surprised the age today’s kids are stepping into smartphone ownership. According to Influence Central’s report Kids & Tech: The Evolution of Today’s Digital Natives, the average age of a child getting their first smartphone is just 10.3 years.
Getting a starter phone for your pre-teen could be a great choice to keep track of where they’re going after school, check-in while they’re at friends houses or stay in touch when they’re navigating extra curricular activities. However, what type of phone to get your child for the first time can be an overwhelming experience. Look for a combination of cost-effectiveness, durability and ease of use for your child’s first starter phone. Here are four of the best starter phones for your preteen on the market.
Shutterbug kids who love to snap pictures of friends and family would love the affordable Moto G4 Plus. Retailing around $250, its 16-megapixel camera features 6GB of storage and a 5.5 inch HD display. For extra safety, there’s also a fingerprint sensor so only they can unlock it. But perhaps most important for kids who are a little careless is a water repellent coating feature to protect against minimal water exposure.
Sony Xperia XA
There are attractive and durable smartphone options for kids retailing for under $200 that still come with all the things they love. The Sony Xperia XA features a 5″ borderless display in different colors like rose and gold to make your kids are keeping up with digital style trends.
Like with any smartphone for a preteen, parents should download parental control apps to keep tabs on what your kids are doing on their phone. Norton Family Premier features location tracking features and the ability to block individual apps. Another option is PhoneSheriff with browsing and texting logs to see what your kids are up to. But in addition to parental control apps, the Xperia XA also comes with a MicroSD slot to add your own pre-approved media that you’re okay with your kids watching.
LG K20 V
Another stylish and affordable option on the starter phone list is the LG K20 V retailing at around $170. Kids will enjoy the large 5.3 inch HD display to watch their favorite shows, video chat with friends and relatives and play video games. The LG K20 V is also a solid choice for kids who are on the go whether traveling with family or keeping a full extra curricular schedule. Its long-lasting battery is removable and features up to 32 hours of usage time and 12.5 days of standby time.
Apple iPhone SE
If your pre-teen has their heart set on an iPhone, it doesn’t have to break the bank. The iPhone SE is budget friendly at around $300 and comes with up-to-date features like live photos, touch ID and a 12 megapixel camera. The SE also comes with a sleek and slim design for kids who aren’t as interested in an oversized phablet-style phone.
Choose the Right Phone Package
Finding the right phone is just the first step in getting your pre-teen set up with their first mobile device. You also need the right phone package that accommodates their needs, your budget and expectations.
The safest bet in terms of sticking to a budget is an unlimited talk, texting and data plan so there are no surprises on your monthly bill. If your family travels overseas, remember to look into international options to avoid being hit with large fees. Look for unlimited plans on T-Mobile or multiple family lines for a comprehensive family plan at around $160 a month and a prepaid card to help pay off your phone. At the end of the day, you want your child to be safe with their new phone while making sure your phone plan doesn’t break the bank.