The best phones for kids in 2024. SmartWatch for Kids.
The best phones for kids in 2024. In an age where even the youngest members of our families are adept at swiping screens, the question isn’t if a child should have a phone, but rather which one is the most suitable. It’s clear that the era of digital natives has broadened to include even the backpack-toting elementary crowd. The decision to equip a child with a phone is deeply personal and varies with each family dynamic, considering factors like the child’s maturity, activities, and the family’s lifestyle.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve determined your child is at the stage to own a phone. Ready to delve into the options? Let’s explore the optimal choices for the juvenile phone user.
A Primer on Selecting the Ideal Child-Friendly Phone
Choosing the right phone for your child isn’t a one-size-fits-all affair. While the iPhone and Samsung devices frequently top the popularity charts, the perfect model for your offspring might differ. For Apple aficionados, anything beyond an iPhone 12, including the iPhone SE 2, marks a solid beginning. Samsung loyalists can consider the Galaxy A14 or A54, or the more premium Galaxy S23.
Navigating the Maze of Child-Friendly Communication Devices
Before we plunge into recommendations, let’s consider the various approaches you might take when selecting a mobile device for your child. Ponder these questions to guide your decision:
- Parental Controls. Are you in search of a device with robust parental controls? Typically, these phones come from major manufacturers like Samsung but are equipped with custom software for content restriction. If you desire a ready-made solution for online safety, the section on phones with pre-installed parental controls is for you.
- Smartwatch Versus Phone. Not ready to hand over a smartphone to your little one? A call-capable smartwatch might be the interim solution. We explore smartwatches and other kid-friendly tech alternatives in a dedicated section.
- Basic Communication Needs. If you want to eschew apps and internet access, a feature phone that focuses on calls and texts is your best bet. Our guide includes recommendations for the best basic phones suitable for children.
- Durability Concerns. For children known to treat their gadgets with less care, you’ll want a durable phone. In our guide, you’ll find options that can withstand the rough and tumble, though you may need to implement your own parental controls.
- DIY Parental Controls. If you’re comfortable setting up parental controls on your own, almost any smartphone can be transformed into a child-friendly device with the right apps. We offer insights on the best Android and iOS devices that you can tailor to your parenting style.
- Brand Considerations. The brand can be a significant factor, especially among tweens and teens. In many US schools, iPhones are the norm. If brand image is important to you or your child, you’ll find our section on iPhones particularly useful. For those with a slight preference, Samsung’s offerings are also discussed throughout our guide in various contexts.
Best phones with built-in parental controls
The best phones for kids in 2024. In the realm of child-centric mobile devices, the decision to enable parental oversight is a pivotal one, and it branches into two distinct choices: securing a phone with an exclusive child-friendly carrier plan or opting for a device that offers the freedom to select any carrier.
For parents leaning towards a dedicated plan for their youngsters, the Bark Phone emerges as a front-runner. It boasts a remarkable degree of adaptability that sets it apart from its peers, such as the Gabb Phone. While the Gabb Phone presents a more restricted environment that could serve as an ideal ‘starter’ phone, it’s worth noting that its appeal may wane as your child approaches adolescence. On the other hand, Troomi Wireless is a formidable contender, presenting a suite of features that eclipse the Gabb Phone, with the added convenience of purchasing the device and plan directly from the provider.
Should your preference tilt towards versatility and carrier independence, Pinwheel stands out. Among their offerings, the Pinwheel Pixel is a standout, essentially a reconfigured Pixel 7a with bespoke software. The added bonus is its carrier neutrality, allowing the freedom to choose the service provider that best suits your family’s needs.
The best phones for kids in 2024. Navigating the complexities of parenting in a digital age, the Pinwheel Pixel presents itself as a sterling choice for those seeking a robust phone with integrated parental supervision capabilities. Nestled within its framework is the bespoke Pinwheel OS, an intelligently crafted layer that sits atop the chassis of a rebranded Pixel 7a, providing a suite of monitoring and management tools tailored for the vigilant parent.
With the Pinwheel Pixel, oversight is nuanced and comprehensive. You can curate a safe list of contacts, keep a vigilant eye on text and call logs, pinpoint your child’s location with GPS, and delineate screen time with meticulous schedules. The device even supports interactive to-do lists, enabling children to track their responsibilities directly on their phone. An exclusive app store further refines the digital environment, offering a selection of age-appropriate applications and features. As the years progress and your child matures, the flexibility of Pinwheel’s system allows you to gradually relax these controls, ensuring that the device evolves in tandem with your child’s growth, sidestepping the potential for adolescent embarrassment.
When it comes to the hardware underpinning the Pinwheel Pixel, performance is not left to chance. It is powered by a Tensor G2 processor, complemented by 6GB of RAM, and ample storage of 128GB. The photographic prowess of the device stands nearly shoulder-to-shoulder with flagship counterparts, capturing life’s moments with clarity and vibrance.
Bark phone: a good option
The best phones for kids in 2024. The Bark Phone, a tailor-made variant of the Galaxy A13, emerges as a commendable choice for parents seeking a comprehensive package of device and cellular service. This phone distinguishes itself with a bespoke, child-centric operating system that builds upon the foundations of Android, offering a rich tapestry of parental controls, a proprietary app ecosystem, and additional layers of customizability. Its standout feature is the adaptable user experience; while it can be configured to offer a highly restricted environment, it also has the capacity to welcome broader functionalities like the Google Play Store. This adaptability positions the Bark Phone as an ally in your child’s digital growth, maturing alongside them.
Internally, the Bark Phone aligns with the expectations set by the Galaxy A13. It is equipped with an Exynos 850 chipset, 6GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage that can be expanded via microSD. The camera, while fundamental, boasts a 50MP primary sensor capable of capturing the moments that matter to your young photographer.
When it comes to the accompanying Bark cellular service, the entry-level plan is priced at $29 monthly, offering unlimited calls and texts while eschewing apps, browsers, and data — a digitally minimalist approach for the youngest users. For those seeking a more connected experience, the comprehensive plan at $49 per month grants Wi-Fi-enabled access to a broader digital world, with an additional $10 per month adding 4GB of cellular data into the mix. Although the Bark Phone’s service leans towards the premium end of the spectrum, it is worth noting that alternatives like the Pinwheel Pixel may offer more economical longevity, given their compatibility with a wide array of carriers and the potential for cost-saving through affordable prepaid options.
Choosing Kid-Friendly Phones: The Benefits and Limits
Phones with built-in controls offer easy setup. They save time as no extra apps are needed. Many are affordable or free with a plan. Such plans often include cellular coverage. This can be good or bad, depending on your needs.
Yet, these phones have limitations:
- Choices are few, with just a handful of models.
- They’re basic and less trendy compared to popular iPhones or Galaxies.
- Brands like Google do offer some competitive models, such as the Pinwheel Pixel.
Kids may outgrow these phones quickly:
- An 11-year-old may soon want a more advanced phone.
- As teens, they’ll likely prefer a fuller phone experience.
Phones with custom plans have their downsides:
- They usually have little or no data.
- They’re mainly for calls, texts, and Wi-Fi use.
- You cannot unlock them for use with major carriers like AT&T or Verizon.
Top mobile phones – Capable Smartwatches for Kids
Want a safe way to contact your child without a smartphone? Consider a call-capable smartwatch. Many models exist, but we focus on two standout choices.
For a comprehensive list, see our guide on the best smartwatches for kids. Note, only a few replace phones.
Apple Watch SE 2 (GPS+Cellular): Ideal for Older Kids and Teens
The Apple Watch SE 2 is more than just a popular brand. It’s perfect for keeping tabs on your kids. You need an iPhone for setup with Apple’s Family Setup. The watch operates independently for calls and texts with Cellular support. It offers app downloads, fitness features, Siri access, and more. It restricts web access and includes Apple’s parental controls like Schooltime mode.
The Apple Watch doesn’t feel like a “baby watch.” It’s stylish, blending in well for older kids. As they grow, they’ll likely keep using it, even with a smartphone. This makes it a lasting investment for both older kids and teens.
Apple Watch SE (2022): Affordable Quality with Comprehensive Features
The Apple Watch SE (2022) represents a smart investment within Apple’s smartwatch range, providing a balance between cost and capability. It supports a wide array of apps, ensuring that whatever your needs, there’s likely an app to assist. For the health-conscious, it delivers nuanced fitness tracking, recording workouts and activity with precision. Sleep tracking has also been enhanced, providing insights into sleep patterns for better health management.
While the SE foregoes some of the high-end sensors found in more expensive models—like the ECG and blood oxygen monitors—it retains core functionalities that cater to the average user’s demands. This includes heart rate monitoring, fall detection, and even noise alerts, ensuring that users have access to vital health and safety features without the premium price tag.
Verizon GizmoWatch 2: Robust and Child-Friendly Communication
The best phones for kids in 2024. In contrast to the Apple Watch, the Verizon GizmoWatch 2 is tailored specifically for younger users. Its design prioritizes durability and water resistance, making it a resilient companion for the rough and tumble of children’s daily adventures. The battery life is impressive, lasting up to four days, which means less frequent charging and more consistent usage.
Health and activity tracking are simplified but adequate, offering fundamental insights suitable for younger users. What sets the GizmoWatch 2 apart is its suite of parental control features. Location alerts provide peace of mind about a child’s whereabouts, while to-do lists and step goals can help instill responsibility and a healthy lifestyle. Quiet times can be programmed to minimize distractions, and the tracking functionality allows parents to stay updated on their child’s location, all contributing to a safer, more controlled digital experience for kids.
Conclusion about the best phones for kids in 2024
In conclusion, selecting a communication device for children involves a careful balance between functionality, safety, and cost. The Apple Watch SE (2022) stands out as a value-packed option that brings together a wide range of features and a seamless ecosystem for older children and teens. It ensures that while staying connected, they are also engaging with technology in a healthy and balanced way. On the other hand, the Verizon GizmoWatch 2 caters to younger children with robust build and essential tracking features, providing peace of mind for parents and a simple, durable device for kids. Both options serve as a testament to how technology can adapt to different stages of a child’s life, offering tailored solutions that grow with their needs
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