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iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Bark and Others: How to Choose Your Kid’s First Phone

Giving your little one a telephone for the primary time is a call not to be rushed. The timing issues, and so does the kind of system. Do you mud off your previous iPhone or


or do you purchase one of many new kid-centric telephones with built-in monitoring?

I’ll stroll you thru all the things you want to take into account, in addition to the options of the varied choices.

Decide your child’s readiness. There’s no magic age when a toddler is prepared for a telephone. Usually, the choice is sensible: When youngsters enter center faculty, as an illustration, they aren’t essentially supervised as intently as they had been in elementary faculty. You may want to hold your personal tabs on them—and give them a simple means to attain you. By age 11, 53% of youngsters have their very own smartphone, in accordance to the nonprofit Frequent Sense Media.

Dad and mom contemplating this modern-day ceremony of passage have to stability a variety of things, from their child’s maturity degree and need for independence to fears of cyber bullying and an excessive amount of display screen time.

There are indicators youngsters could be prepared. In the event that they exhibit duty by doing their homework, holding observe of belongings and taking good care of their different electronics, they may give you the option to deal with a telephone.

Outline the aim. Earlier than deciding what sort of telephone to get, talk about together with your little one the explanations for having one. “What do you want and need your little one to give you the option to do with a telephone?” says

Jacqueline Nesi,

a Brown College assistant professor of psychiatry who research children’ tech use. “What does your little one want and need to do with a telephone?”


How did you determine what sort of telephone to give your little one? Be a part of the dialog beneath.

If the first objective is to let your little one know you’re working late to faculty pickup, your little one won’t want a smartphone’s performance. A more-limited child telephone (and even a smartwatch) would suffice. But when your little one wants a telephone to submit schoolwork or to talk with faculty teams and sports activities groups by way of apps, the smartphone is the higher wager.

Resolve on parental controls. The extent of restrictions you need to place in your little one’s entry to the web, social media and contacts may dictate your alternative. iPhones and Android units have parental controls constructed into the settings. Dad and mom who use Apple Household Sharing or Google Household Hyperlink can even restrict display screen time and place restrictions on app utilization from their very own telephones, although the instruments require some preliminary setup.

Telephones designed for youths include deeper controls and extra monitoring, akin to the power to learn their texts. Builders of those telephones say children can’t bypass the restrictions. 

Hand-Me-Down Telephones

The most important causes to hand down a telephone are that you just’re already acquainted with it and your loved ones members possible have comparable units, so you’ll be able to share apps and content material. 

The flip aspect is that these are usually full-featured units, so that you want to set limits. (In case you’re not paying consideration, your children can exploit your errors to get round parental controls.) Additionally, actually previous telephones received’t be safe: It’s vital to be sure that any telephone you give your little one runs the latest working system. 

iPhone: With the iOS 16 replace,


Household Sharing now accommodates strategies for age-appropriate content material restrictions, in addition to a household guidelines with tips about how to replace settings as children become old. Fast Begin helps you to arrange a brand new iPhone with parental controls already in place. Fashions courting again to the iPhone 8 can run iOS 16. When giving an previous iPhone to your little one, take away your private info first.

Android: This month, Google up to date Household Hyperlink so it’s simpler to handle units akin to Samsung Galaxy telephones and its personal Pixel telephones. A brand new location tab reveals all of your children on one map, and if a telephone will get misplaced, you’ll be able to activate its ringer. Dad and mom can activate notifications to be alerted when their little one arrives at or leaves a location. Dad and mom can even set “in the present day solely” screen-time limits when their little one wants an exception. Earlier than giving your child your previous Android system, observe these steps

Child Telephones

These don’t scream kiddie telephone. They appear to be every other modern Android smartphone. They’re much less embarrassing than, say, a flip telephone. Consider the telephones as having coaching wheels. As children become old, you’ll be able to carry some restrictions and, in some instances, improve to a extra full-featured model.

The most important draw back in an Apple-heavy social scene is that these telephones show the “inexperienced bubble” texts dreaded by teenagers. Additionally, in case your child already makes use of an iPad, it could be annoying to make the change.

Bark, the developer of a preferred child-monitoring app, is releasing a brand new telephone in November that accommodates the app’s options.



Bark Phone (service and {hardware} lease beginning at $49 a month): The developer of a preferred child-monitoring app has built-in the app’s options into a brand new telephone being launched in mid-November.

As well as to having Bark’s content material evaluation and parental controls preinstalled—and not detachable—this Samsung A13 telephone is additional personalized with extra options, akin to location monitoring, name blocking and the power to handle contacts. Dad and mom who lease one Bark telephone can set up the Bark Premium app on any of their children’ different units at no additional cost.

The brand new Gabb Phone Plus, for youths 13 and older, will quickly supply beneficial third-party apps.



Gabb Wi-fi (telephones beginning at $150; plans from $18 a month): This four-year-old firm developed smartwatches for younger youngsters, plus two smartphones: The unique Gabb Phone is for youths ages 9 and up, whereas a higher-end Gabb Phone Plus is for youths 13 and older.

Gabb telephones don’t have any app retailer or web browser. If language in textual content messages between unknown contacts accommodates inappropriate content material, they received’t be delivered, and images from unknown contacts are blocked. Texts can’t be deleted. Dad and mom can observe their children’ location and arrange “protected zones” akin to faculty grounds or mates’ homes; they’ll obtain notifications if their children’ telephones depart these areas. Gabb additionally has a music service that includes high hits with out specific lyrics. The Gabb Phone Plus will quickly supply beneficial third-party apps.

The Troomi telephone permits mother and father to remotely view their children’ texts and monitor the telephone’s location by way of an online portal.



Troomi Wi-fi (telephone beginning at $180; plans from $20 a month): The corporate, launched final 12 months by a Gabb co-founder, sells Samsung telephones working a customized working system. Dad and mom can add options as their children become old.

Dad and mom can remotely view their children’ texts and monitor the telephone’s location by way of an online portal. Dad and mom can select to let their children ship and obtain images within the messaging app. The telephone accommodates a content-filtering browser and permits mother and father to add kid-safe apps.

The Pinwheel telephone permits mother and father to monitor their children’ exercise, together with deleted texts.



Pinwheel (telephone beginning at $200; $15-a-month service charge on high of wi-fi plan): This kid-phone possibility is geared toward middle-schoolers however is designed to develop with the kid, probably by way of highschool.

Dad and mom can monitor their children’ telephone exercise—even deleted texts—by way of a web-based portal. Dad and mom can create day by day routines for his or her children to observe and allow sure apps or contacts throughout particular instances. The telephones can comprise finance apps and curated instructional and music apps. There isn’t any net browser and the telephone is appropriate with Bark’s monitoring software program.

For extra Household & Tech columns, recommendation and solutions to your most urgent family-related know-how questions, join my weekly publication.

Write to Julie Jargon at [email protected]

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