Parents are actively searching for cheap phones for kids right now. Tis the season and all, right? Many kids have only one thing on their Christmas list this year, and that is a smartphone.
My first warning to parents is not to get your kids an iPhone. They are too expensive for kids and much harder to manage than an Android device. If you have an iPhone, you don’t have to trade your phone in for an Android to manage an Android well. All of the parental control apps can be managed from your apps on your phone.
My second warning is to make sure you install parental controls before you hand over the device. Also, make them sign a technology contract that gives them rules and responsibilities associated with the device.
Just like you probably wouldn’t give your kids a brand new 2020 car when they are learning how to drive, they don’t need the best and most expensive phone when they are just learning how to use the device. I can’t tell you how many cracked screens I see from all of my kid’s friends!
Getting cheap phones for kids allows them to be a little bit harder on their devices. Even though these phones aren’t the latest and greatest smartphones, I still recommend getting a protective case for the phone and a screen protector. Just because it is cheap doesn’t mean they can treat it poorly.
The Cheapest Phone
While this isn’t actually the cheapest phone available at the carriers, it’s the best phone for the cheapest price. The Samsung Galaxy A10e has 32 GB of RAM, so you can save quite a bit of apps and photos on it. It does have an SD card slot, so you can increase that space to 512 GB! For $180-200 out of pocket, it’s a great starter phone for kids. T-Mobile, Verizon, ATT, Sprint.
A little pricier
My second choice would be the Moto G7 Power. It also has 32 GB of RAM and a Micro SD card slot, but it’s slightly more expensive at $240 when you buy the phone outright. The benefit here is the amazing battery life of the G7 Power. It can get around 2-3 days on a single charge which is great for kids who may be out of the house most of the day at school and sports activities.
If your carrier doesn’t have this phone available to purchase, you can purchase the unlocked version on Motorola’s website and activate it with any individual carrier. You can check the website to make sure your current provider is listed.
Even more expensive
For a little bit more money (around $300), you can get a phone with a stylus that is great for kids who love to draw and take notes on their phones. The LG Stylo 5 also has 32 GB of memory, with an SD card slot as well.
Don’t even get me started on how much I LOOOOVVEEEEE a stylus. That’s why the Samsung Note 10+ is MY current phone of choice. I’m so glad there is an affordable option for kids to increase their love of stylus’ as well.
Even if you are giving your child a phone for Christmas, be sure they understand it is a privilege and not a right. You retain the right to take the phone back at any time for any reason. If you are upfront with them about the rules of smartphone use, they will understand when you have to enforce those rules. They may complain endlessly about it, but at least they were forewarned, right?
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com