There is an age where children can benefit from a cell phone, and there are a variety of plans on the market that give them the service they need without breaking the bank!
Main image courtesy of Very Well Family.
Cell phones are a great way to stay in touch with your children whenever they are at school, with friends, or otherwise out of the house. The knowledge that your kids are always just a phone call away helps parents feel that their kids are safe when they are out away. A cell phone ensures a constant line of communication between parents and their kids.
There will be a time when your child is ready for their first cell phone. Unfortunately, it is hard to know the exact moment that the time is right. It is worth the research to see if getting them a cell phone is the right decision for you and for your child, especially if they’ve brought up that they want a phone. They will need one at some point, but there are so many pros and cons associated with finding the best phone plan for a child that it is hard to know when that is.
This article will go over some of the pros and cons of finding what is the best phone plan for a child, as well as how to tell if your child needs a cell phone at this time, and some examples of the best phone plans for children. While we have a few great plans on this list, you can check out our cell phone plan comparison tool for information about the best phone plans in your area.
Table of Contents
Does Your Child Need a Cell Phone?
There are an unfortunately large amount of pros and cons for getting kids cell phones. Looking through this list, do the pros outweigh the cons? Image courtesy of Family Education.
Cell phones give a tremendous amount of power to their users. Voice and video calls, texting, and unlimited access to the internet from anywhere anytime is a hard decision to make at any time. The internet has grown tremendously over the years, and it has given truth to the old adage from Uncle Ben in the Spiderman comics when he said, “With great power, there must also come — great responsibility.”
What makes the decision so hard is that although there are many risks to finding the best phone plan for a child, there are also many benefits. Cell phones provide parents with a sense of security because it means that their children can reach them from anywhere if they need to. There are a lot of factors to keep in mind when deciding whether or not a kid is ready for their first cell phone, and here are a few.
Children with Cell Phones are Always in Touch
The best reason to give children cell phones is so you can stay in touch with them at all times of the day. When they are at school, at their after-school activities, and out with friends, they are no further than a call or a text away. If anything happens they can give you a call, whether they need a ride home or if there’s any emergency. That constant connection with your children is a great boon.
Friendships Develop with Cell Phones, Letting Your Children Socialize at All Times of the Day
Another awesome reason for children to get their first cell phone is to let them keep in touch with their friends at all times. Kids are always chatting. At school and during after-school activities are great places for your kids to bond with others, and once some kids have phones, phone numbers get exchanged, and if your child doesn’t have a phone of their own they won’t be able to take part in the big silly group chat with new friends. Exchanging phone numbers is a great ritual for children and lets them feel like they’ve made good new friends, and the constant communication acts as a fast way for them to cement those friendships.
A Cell Phone Teaches Your Children About Responsibility
As a child, receiving a cell phone is now a huge responsibility. Having that constant access to the internet is a big moment for anyone, and giving a cell phone to your child lets them know that you are trusting them with a phone. It is best to accompany the cell phone with a chat, and let them know that while there are bad things on the internet you are trusting them to avoid delving into those deep, dark places. We recommend talking to your children about the many benefits and dangers of a phone, and that it is your decision whether they get one or not.
Hopefully, your children will appreciate the trust you show in them and will reciprocate. All children need to learn how to be responsible for the things they own and the things they do. When getting a cell phone, your kids will have the responsibility in their hands to keep track of their phone and to use it for good. They can learn a lot from their first phone, like how to take care of it and ensure it does not get damaged or broken and how to be responsible on the internet.
Alongside the trust, a phone lets you track your child’s position to make sure they are safe and secure at all times. This is a point of contention with older children and if it starts to cause arguments, there is a time and place when requiring them to share their location is not the best move. But having their location, especially once children are able to drive, lets parents know exactly where their kids are if they break down or are in an accident.
The Best Mobile Phone Plans for Children
Kids will oftentimes want the newest and shiniest phones and plans but they definitely don’t need them! Here’s our list of mobile phone plans for kids that are affordable while providing them all the services they need. Image courtesy of Today’s Parent.
There are a lot of cell phone plans out on the market today. Between a variety of levels of plans in every company and dozens of companies bringing their plans to the table, it is rather challenging to figure out what is the best phone plan for a child. This section will cover some of our favorite cell phone plans for children and hopefully some analysis to help you figure out which one is best for your children. While you can add an extra line to your current plan (and that is likely the easiest route) there are some really cheap plans on the market that may make better financial sense as well as limit their access to the internet.
Does Your Child Need Unlimited Data?
First things first, you should decide whether or not your child needs a plan with unlimited data. Unlimited talk and text is always a good idea, but unlimited data comes with its own set of pros and cons. Children use a lot of data. They are on the phone riding the bus, out with friends, and, well, just about all the time. So many cell phone activities chew through data, and getting your child an unlimited plan lets them enjoy their phone and all it can do without worrying about filling up their limited data allotment.
Limiting data usage is not always a bad thing. Companies usually adopt one of two policies.
- Adding data charges after data allotment is breached
- Drastically slowing data speeds when allotment is reached
If you are worried about your kid’s data usage, a limited plan might be just the thing. If the plan is billed for each GB used over the limit, you can let them know that those overages come out of their pocket. That’s one way to make sure they don’t go over their data usage! It is also a low-risk way to teach them about the responsibility of keeping track of their data usage.
Phone plans are changing to adopt the latter of the two policies when limited data ceilings are reached, and having their data speeds slowed is, in our opinion, a much better lesson in keeping track of their data.
Mint Mobile’s 4GB and Unlimited Plans
When looking at Mint Mobile, each one of their plans could be a go-to for your child. In this section, we will cover their 4GB plan as well as their unlimited plan as a single-line plan. First, we’ll go over a few general details about Mint Mobile. They are an MVNO that runs off of T-Mobile’s network, which means all of their phones have fast and reliable service. All of their plans are very affordable, compared to the plans on major networks. Children don’t need the most expensive plan out there!
These two plans are very affordable, and Mint offers a nice incentive for the first three months of all their plans. For the first three months, each plan is offered at a $10 discount, which they usually reserve for their year-long contracts. This lets you save a bit more on those first few months after you get your kids a new phone and contract. Let’s take a look at the details of these two plans!
Mint Mobile’s 4GB Plan
- $15 a month for the first 3 months
- Unlimited talk and text
- Data speeds reduce after 4GB at no extra cost
This is a very strong mobile phone plan for kids. With unlimited talk and text, they are able to chat with their friends to their heart’s content! Plans where high-speed data is limited and then is reduced to 2G or 3G speeds are better for kids so they don’t accidentally accrue huge overage charges whenever they don’t keep track of their data.
Mint Mobile’s Unlimited Plan
- $30 a month for the first 3 months
- Unlimited talk and text
- Unlimited data
Mint’s unlimited plan is a great unlimited plan for just about everyone, but it’s one of the best phone plans for children. Kids do use a lot of data. It lets them stream on the bus or anywhere, really. Your kids will spend a lot of time on the Wi-Fi anyway, so giving them unlimited data as well isn’t as big of a jump as it seems. It is, however, $15 more expensive than the 4GB plan. A plan being cheap is a great incentive to get it for kids, especially as one of their first plans. If you have a plan with a major wireless provider, getting your child a line with an MVNO is a nice incentive to switch to a cheaper plan.
Verizon Wireless — Just Kids Plan
- Cost varies from $50 to $25 per month
- Unlimited talk, text, and data
- Parental controls
Out of all the plans on this list, Verizon’s Just Kids plan has the only real parental controls. Lots of the other plans are cheap and provide great data coverage and competitive rates, but this one comes with significant parental controls. This plan lets you monitor their contact list, track the phone’s location, block content, and cap the time they can spend on certain apps as well as total screen time. It’s a pretty significant package.
We recommend this plan only with younger children as it does not show trust in a way that the other plans do. It is very limiting to the kid, and it caps their contact list at 20 people. We recommend this plan primarily to parents who want to have that extra level of control.
One last thing about this plan, it is only eligible for already existing Verizon unlimited plans. This plan, unfortunately, cannot be a single-line plan like the other ones can.
- $30 a month
- Unlimited talk, text, and data
- Unlimited mobile hotspot
Visible is a relatively new company that offers up only unlimited plans at a great price point and with access to Verizon’s network. MVNOs like Visibile are able to provide tremendously cheaper plans than the major wireless companies. They have a fair amount of phones that work with their network. Their compatible phones go all the way back to the iPhone 6.
Alongside mobile phone plans for kids, there’s also the question of what phone to get them. We generally don’t think that kids need the latest and greatest smartphones, especially considering how much they cost. Consider getting used models a few generations back. Used, especially certified pre-owned used phones are very cheap and are almost as good as new ones. A certified pre-owned phone three or so generations back should only cost a few hundred dollars. That’s still a lot to pay for a phone, but much less than some of the alternatives!
US Mobile 5GB Plan
- $10 per Month
- Unlimited talk and text
- Data shuts off when the limit is reached — no surprise overage fees
US Mobile is another spectacular option for a mobile phone plan for kids. First things first it is incredibly affordable. $10 a month for a fully functioning mobile plan sounds almost too good to be true. It provides a great option to get your kid up and running with a cellphone without breaking the bank. A plan like this lets you rest assured that your kid can get into contact with you whenever they need to and chat with their friends to their heart’s content. Knowing that there is a hard data shut off is a great lesson learned for the first time they hit their maximum.
These are our top picks for mobile phone plans for kids! Recently there has been an emergence of loads of cheap phone plans that offer great coverage while delivering on much lower prices. Now, there are almost so many low-cost plans that it’s hard to choose which one is best! Not to worry. Kids don’t need the perfect, most optimized plan that’s out there to be happy with their coverage. Getting a phone in the first place is a big step for them, and one that should make them happy.
Is Your Child Ready for Their First Phone?
There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding whether or not your kid is ready for their first mobile phone plan. There are not a whole lot of options for parental controls when it comes to the best phone plans for children, and there is an inevitable pushback that will come from any parental controls installed on your kid’s phone. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of plans that offer cheap service to let your kid surf the web and stay in contact with you and all of their friends without breaking the bank. This is a very big step for your child, and we wish you the best of luck in their entrance into the mobile world.