Unless your child is very young, chances are at least some of the other kids they know already have their own smartphones. While for most of us with kids now, our own first phone didn’t arrive until our late teens or perhaps even later, it is now a pretty normal sight for children even younger than secondary school age to have their own touch screen smartphone devices.
Of course, wanting a smartphone isn’t just about fitting in or impressing their friends – it is a truly useful thing for them to have, allowing them to communicate, search for things on the internet (perhaps to help with their school work) and also carrying around music, videos and games to keep them entertained. Also, getting used to using a smartphone is a good skill to have, because they’re definitely going to need to be able to use one competently as an adult!
If you have decided that it’s time to get your child their first smartphone, with Christmas right around the corner and some great deals on phones, now may well seem like the perfect time. Here then, are some tips for choosing the right phone for them:
If you aren’t planning to get any special insurance for their phone, you have to consider the implications if they lose it or break it. No matter how much you tell them to look after it or how much they love the device, kids will be kids and phones can get broken or lost fairly easily. You should therefore look at the budget end of the market, rather than at the top end smartphones. Even iPhones now come in cheaper models like the 5C, so even if your child has their heart set on an Apple phone, you can get something that costs a bit less than a flagship model and won’t cost the Earth to replace if needed. To save even more, you can always buy a second hand phone handset – after all, one that is a couple of years old will still look and work great, and as their first phone they will love it whether it’s the latest or the generation before.
You’ll be paying for all your child’s calls, texts and data usage, so you want a good tariff. Consider that kids these days use instant messaging apps far more than SMS, so data is probably going to be their biggest need. At home, you can get them to use the Wi-Fi, but to avoid big bills it is best to find a usage plan with affordable unlimited data. If you find a good tariff that the handset you bought isn’t available with, you can also consider using a service like Unlocking Smart to prepare it to use the network of your choice so you can get the best deal for their most likely usage pattern.
Buying your child their first smartphone is sure to delight them this Christmas, so make sure you choose a suitable model and tariff so you don’t end up coming to regret it a few months down the line!