Best Cell Phones for Kids

Jessica Foust with TopTen Reviews breaks down what to look for in a kid-friendly phone.


Regardless of whether you choose a conventional phone or smart phone, you’ll want one with great messaging capabilities. Conventional phones are usually cheaper than smartphones. Generally they are priced from $20-$150, or come free when you sign a two-year contract with a cell phone provider. Most have texting and basic cameras. Features that may cost more are high-speed data networks (3G) to access the Internet, music and video capabilities, a touch screen, QWERTY keyboard, and a memory card.

A smart phone like an iPhone or BlackBerry blur the line between your mp3 player, camera, and computer. Most have a full QWERTY keyboard rather than a little keypad of a conventional phone so users can send out speedy text messages and email. Some smart phones like a Blackberry allow you to create and edit spreadsheets and documents. With these phones, your kids can complete homework assignments and email them straight to their teachers without ever using a computer. While some smart phones are geared for work, some are geared for personal use. Smart phones like an iPhone are great for playing music, other multimedia, reading e-mail messages, but don’t let you create or edit documents and spreadsheets.



Most kids are into text messaging and a phone without it may be considered a dud. Some phones have a QWERTY keyboard, which is a full alphabetic keyboard, which can allow you to type faster. Although some kids may prefer the keypad on a conventional phone for predicted text.


Many kids use their phones for taking pictures and short video clips. Most phones have resolutions of 2-3 megapixels or more so they offer an average photo quality. If your phone allows you to store music, video, and pictures you’ll need a lot of storage space. An external memory card slot is the best option for storing everything.

Web Browser

Your kids can surf the net for the latest happenings on Facebook or sport recaps. Phones either come with WAP (Wireless Access Protocol) browsers or full HTML browsers. WAP shows websites that are built to display on phones but not all sites are made for WAP browsing. Nicer phones will have a full HTML browser, which allows you to view everything like you would on a computer.


Over the past few years, major providers have given parents the tools they need to monitor their child’s cell phone usage. These services give parents the flexibility to make sure their kids aren’t texting during school or using the phone at all hours of the night. AT&T for instance offers the “Smart Limits” service. It costs $4.99 per month. The service allows parents to limit talk time, text messages, instant messages, and web content.


Cell phone insurance can save parents a lot of heartburn when their kids lose, get wet, or somehow break their phone. New phones come with a warranty by the manufacturer. However that only covers equipment malfunction. That means you’re out of luck if your child’s phone is lost, stolen, or accidentally damaged. Insurance is also nice if you’re buying an expensive smart phone that would cost $500 or more to replace. Typically insurance for cell phones will cost $5-$10 a month.

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