A cell phone is a great point of contact to stay in touch with your kids as they galavant around town on school and friend-related adventures. Knowing that your kids are always just a phone call away can help parents feel that their kids are safe when they are out at school, sports, and over with friends. A cell phone ensures a constant line of communication between parents and their kids.
There will be a time where your kid is ready for their first cell phone. Unfortunately, it is hard to know the exact moment that the time is right. If they’ve brought up that they want a phone, it is worth doing some research to see if getting them a cell phone is the right decision for them and for you. There are a lot of pros and cons of giving your kids a cell phone. They will, of course, need one at some point, but it’s hard to know when that is.
We hope to help you out! If you are looking to get your kid a cell phone but aren’t sure what mobile phone plan to get, read on for information about if your kid needs a cell phone, and the best mobile phone plans for kids on the market!
Does Your Child Need a Cell Phone?
In the Spiderman comics, Uncle Ben said “With great power there must also come — great responsibility.” That old adage shows its truth when considering the power that a cell phone gives to its user. Voice and video calls, texts, and the ability to access the internet from anywhere at any time causes many parents to wonder if it’s really time for their child to get their first cell phone.
For all the risks, there are a lot of benefits, too! Cell phones can give parents a sense of security with the knowledge that their kids could reach them if they needed 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.
Cell Phones let Parents Stay in Touch at All Times
Perhaps the best reason to give a kid a cell phone 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 kids is a great boon.
Mobile Phone Plans Let Kids Establish Strong Bonds with Friends
A great reason to let your kid have their first cell phone is so they can keep in touch with their friends 24/7. Kids these days never stop talking, and cell phones let your kids make those great connections with their friends at any time of the day. School and after school activities are great places for your kids to bond with others, be it in their math class or cross country practice. The ritual of exchanging phone numbers or social medias lets your kids feel like they’ve made a good friend, and chatting after school about whatever lets them cement those friendships.
Alongside that, the cameras on their phones let them document amazing moments, be they holidays, trips, or just silly coincidences that result in them smiling and laughing every time they look at that memory. Kids can make loads of memories with a single tap on their screen.
Establish Trust Between You and Your Kids
A phone is a huge responsibility. As a parent, letting your child have a phone and access the internet is a big moment for your kids. Make sure you let them know that you are trusting them with the phone, and while there are ways to get into trouble on the internet, you trust that they will not. 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 can 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 break and how to be responsible on the internet.
Alongside that, you can track your kid’s position based on their phone to make sure that they are safe and secure at all times. This is especially important for parents once their kids can drive, so they can find their children if they ever break down or are in an accident. This can, however, be controversial, as some teenagers will push back against their parents keeping track of their location at all times of the day.
The Best Mobile Phone Plans for Kids
There are an overwhelming amount of phone plans out on the market today. Between multiple levels of plans in the major companies and dozens of MVNOs bringing their own plans to the table make it challenging to pick out which one is right for your children. We are here to help you narrow down the plans and figure out which one is best for you. It is important to note that while you can get a family plan on your current plan, there are some really cheap plans on the market that might make better financial sense, especially as a first plan for your child.
Does Your Kid Need Unlimited Data?
One important choice to make is whether or not you want to give your kid a plan with unlimited talk, text, and data. Of these three, data is the major one to think about as loads of cheap plans have unlimited talk and text. Kids use a lot of data. On the bus, out with friends, and just about anywhere they go they will be on their phone. Data goes quick nowadays! Video streaming is rife on social media, and even loading music or browsing the web can fill up any limited data allotment quickly.
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 on their data usage! It is also a low-risk way to teach them about the responsibility of keeping track of their data usage.
If their speeds are simply slowed when they go over their limit they will learn a similar lesson when Instagram takes over a minute to load each post!
Mint Mobile’s 4GB and Unlimited Plans
When looking at Mint Mobile each one of their plans could be a go-to for your kid. 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. Kids 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 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! Also, we personally think that plans where the data is technically unlimited but it gets slowed down significantly after going over the plan’s amount are better for kids so they don’t accidentally (or purposefully) bring up a ton of extra charges if they don’t keep track of their data usage.
This plan costs $25 a month normally, $20 for a six month contract and $15 for a year long contract after the first three months.
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 its an especially good mobile phone plan for kids. Kids do use a lot of data, and that’s not always a bad thing! It lets them stream on the bus or anywhere, really! Also, your kids will be able to spend just about unlimited data 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. You never know, you may be intrigued by how much they like it that you decide to switch yourself!
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 while providing great data coverage and competitive rates, but this one comes with significant parental controls, letting 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 little kids, 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 on 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 cost and with access to Verizon’s network. MVNOs like Visibile are able to provide tremendously cheaper plans than the major wireless companies. Unfortunately, Visible is ending its party pay plan, but a line for $30 a month is still a crazy good deal. Another great thing about Visible is that 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 while remaining almost as good as new. 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 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, and that 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 Kid 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 mobile phone plans for kids, 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 your bank!