If you simply want to get straight to the recommended phones, scroll down to the bottom of the page. There's one reason to give your child a phone: if they're often out of sight of trustworthy adults and may need to contact you or another caregiver.
Can parents read text messages us cellular
If your kid wants to play games or watch videos on a personal device, but doesn't actually need cellular connectivity, we recommend the iPod touch. It's a great device for backseat entertainment, for instance.
They can do everything a regular Android phone can, just over Wi-Fi. The Wait Until 8th campaign , which advocates only giving kids smartphones once they reach the 8th grade, makes some good arguments, although it too easily elides smartphones and social media, which are different things. The campaign's central point, though, is that younger kids generally only need phones for calling and limited texting. The best phone for tweens and younger is a simple voice phone, a screenless Republic Wireless Relay, or a pure tracking device like the Jiobit. When you do step up to a smartphone, don't spend too much money.
Kids aren't responsible. That's part of what makes them kids.
They'll lose phones, drop phones, soak phones, and break phones. Assume it will happen. We are not going to get into the endless debate, never resolved, about cell phone radiation and kids, but many parents have expressed concern to us about it. The "good" news is that radiation concerns only really come into play when a phone is held right up to your head for long periods of time, and kids don't talk on the phone with their friends much any more: they text.
Short conversations with parents on a basic phone, for safety or logistical uses, won't hurt anyone. For longer conversations, get an inexpensive wired headset. Whatever phone you get, make sure to get a nice, rugged case for it. She loves it. I didn't expect how creative she'd become with the S Pen, constantly doodling and making notes. Thanks to the pen, her Galaxy Note 4 isn't just a phone, it's an endless diary. When you get your kid a phone, whether it's a new one or a hand-me-down, you have to address what service plan it'll be on.
In that case, they only have coverage in known Wi-Fi networks, and can't send standard text messages or make regular phone calls. Your carrier may have a good or convenient deal to add a line, which may also mean that you can get a phone on a monthly payment plan. If you're sharing a data bucket with a child, make sure to limit their line to a certain amount of monthly data so that they don't eat up all of yours.
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You may also be able to save money by connecting your child's phone to a low-cost service. Then you don't have to worry about overages or about your own plan being used. Make a deal with your kid: If they get a phone, you get to look at it. I check my daughter's phone periodically. She's fine with that; that's the deal. I don't read her text messages, but she knows I have the option. Take a look at our Best Parental Control Software roundup. Android and iOS both have some built-in parental controls.
On both OSes, you can block purchases you should, immediately, because it's way too easy to buy things accidentally , as well as application usage or installation. Google's Family Link software for Android 7 phones gives you activity reports and lets you set screen time limits as well. There are some apps that are frequently used for cyberbullying, and should stay off of any child's phone. These apps tend to change a lot, as each new cohort of kids finds something new.
The general rule is that anything with a social aspect, or anything that allows public posting, is potentially dangerous. You should be able to look through the apps on your kid's phone and see the sorts of messages that are being received. You may be thinking, "what about kids sneaking and lying? You have the power to take it away.
As a parent, I've tried to keep this list diverse, with low-cost phones, used phones, and new phones. Whatever one you get, make sure to lock it down. Small children who need phones often need them because they have complex caregiving arrangements where they're handed off between adults. A phone or tracker can also be useful if your kid tends to get lost on the playground, or likes to run and hide. For pure tracking, we recommend the Jiobit, which doesn't have calling functions. For talking to mom and dad, the Republic Wireless Relay is a screenless phone that's great for linking an individual parent and kid, or for kids with tight groups of best friends or group activities.
Over the years, we've sometimes recommended watch-style, restricted phones for kids. We're just not that enthusiastic about any of the ones on the market right now. As tweens and young teens get their first bits of independence, they may need phones to tote around the neighborhood—and to text their friends. Yet tweens are still kids, and often can't be trusted with expensive devices. This is prime time to get your kid a voice phone.
After the number has been saved, a new verification text message will be sent to the new phone number. If you do not have an eligible account non-U. Cellular account, prepaid U. Cellular phone, government account, or business account , you will not be able to receive Family Protector service. Your child can trigger the panic button by: - Pressing the phone's power button 5 times in a row within two seconds.
How does my child use it? The check-in feature helps you monitor your child while they're out of the house. All they have to do is open the app and tap the Check In button. Their location will be sent to your mobile number and the Family Protector website. What is the Web Filter? What does it do? The Web Filter protects your child from viruses, other security threats, and inappropriate content.
You can choose which website categories to allow or block, depending on what you think is appropriate for your child. How do I edit it? You can block entire categories of websites using Web Filter categories.
U.S. Cellular’s Family Protector App Offers Peace of Mind
You can also block specific websites using the Web Filter block list. To add a website to the block list: - Open the Family Protector app on your child's phone. You can choose to edit or delete items in the blocked list by tapping them. Why are third-party browsers blocked?
What is the risk? Third-party browsers are not supported by U. Cellular Family Protector; therefore we can't block inappropriate or risky websites visited by these browsers. Being exposed to inappropriate content could have a negative effect on your child and some websites may contain viruses or malware.
How can I block a third-party browser already installed on my child's phone? What is a Contact Filter? How do I set it up?
Contact filter works as a blacklist for you to control who your child is contacting and who is contacting your child. To set it up: - Open the Family Protector app on your child's phone. What is the app block list? The app block list lets you choose specific apps to block from running on your child's phone. What are "New App Settings"? How do they work? New app settings apply to apps that your child tries to install.
This does not apply to any apps already installed on your child's phone. The camera monitor shows you all the photos that your child takes with his phone. You can review this info on the Family Protector website. The location monitor shows you the places where your child goes. When it's turned on, the location monitor reports the phone's location every 30 minutes by default but can be adjusted to 60 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, 6 hours, or 12 hours.
The phone schedule lets you choose times to lock your child's phone and prevent them from using it. After your child's phone receives the text, it will report its current location back to you.