Best phone for kid’s first phone…


Hello all,

Back with another question in hopes that you come through yet again. I have a soon to be middle schooler. Is there a phone you would recommend that is durable and cheap, but not “cheap” if you get my drift? Also would love to have some parental controls, really like the one included in the Microsoft launcher that Paul just wrote up and my understanding of IOS there is no solution per say. Would an Essential phone be okay ($500 price point seems legit compared to what is offered), but worried if it will be unsupported in the future with the company in trouble. Any suggestions?


Comments (19)

19 responses to “Best phone for kid’s first phone…”

  1. simont

    Look at getting an iPhone SE with some kind of case.

    • rtodd_us

      In reply to simont:

      Does IOS have any parental controls? Primarily dictate what apps they can download, prevent "accidental" purchases. and location sharing.

      • curtisspendlove

        In reply to rtodd_us:

        Does IOS have any parental controls?

        Rumor has it Apple should be jumping on the Digital Health bandwagon.

        I would imagine that that will come with some expanded parental controls functionality.

        If one ends up going with an iPhone for a youngster, I’d recommend checking into trusted refurbished phones.

        Update: Apple indeed unleashed a slew of “self control” restrictions and metrics for the upcoming iOS 12 this fall. I’m actually quite happy with the option to be able to restrict a “child” device.

        Screen Time:

      • jprestig

        In reply to rtodd_us:

        We have family set up on iOS. My daughter has to request any app that she wants to install, then my wife and I both get notifications about it. We can review and then either approve or deny the request. Location sharing also works great with the family set up.

        Also, if it's of any importance, all purchases can be shared. It makes it much easier when I purchase a Disney movie and my daughter sees it on her iOS device as well. Even movies I purchased elsewhere, if they are part of Movies Anywhere, will show up on her iOS device.

  2. Gregory Steeno

    Yep, phones are expensive. There are good suggestions below. And you're right about not wanting to be "cheap". I'd pay a bit extra to get the right phone that should last a few years.

    But this time of year, you should be on the watch with your carrier on upgrade / additional line options.

    FWIW, we have AT&T, and it seems every summer they offer a buy one get one type offer, but the "get one" is an additional line. A couple years ago I walked in with my (~13 y.o.) daughter, upgraded to an iPhone 6S, added her with her new 6S, and off we went. I'll repeat that with my younger daughter when the time comes. Fantastic deal, IMO. Other carriers offer similar.

    In terms of operating system, my only experience is with iOS. But, 1) parental controls are definitely sufficient, in terms of downloading apps (yes/no, what kind), website restrictions, etc., 2) find my iPhone capabilities are needed and comforting, and 3) if you're already on iOS, adding as a family member is great first step in giving the child a bit of independence (still under your supervision), yet allowing apps, content, whatever, to be shared.

    Good luck.

  3. lordbaal1

    Windows phone.

  4. jwpear

    With the Nokia Lumia 520 dead, my recommendation would be a used iPhone SE (or 5S in light of Apple's commitment to improve performance in iOS 12). As others have said, you can find them fairly cheap. I think the small size fits kids better. The price definitely does. You can get an Otterbox case for under $30 and that will protect the phone quite well.

    My middle school-aged son started with the 5S last year (we had an old one). He got a 6S about a month ago (another hand me down after getting my high school-aged daughter a new one).

    • lordbaal1

      In reply to jwpear:

      Windows phone may be dead,. But it doesn't mean it doesn't work.

      • jwpear

        In reply to lordbaal1:

        I assumed he wanted an ecosystem that's still vibrant. And he mentioned controlling the kid's activity on the phone. Family Safety is unreliable on WP and Windows for that matter. Restrictions on iOS 11 don't go quite far enough, but it appears this will improve dramatically in iOS 12.

        Judging from my kids and their friends, most school-aged kids, in my area at least, prefer iPhone. It is a status symbol in middle and high school. They want the social apps like Snapchat and Instagram. Neither of those are viable on WP today. Snapchat is the preferred app and that never made it to WP. They want games too--which the iOS App store has a plethora of. WP had/has some great games, but still nothing near that of iOS (and I'm guessing Android).

  5. Jennifer Vinget

    click here for any query related to Avast Antivirus then please Contact Avast Antivirus Customer Support Number Australia:-


  6. Bill Russell

    iphone SE, can obtain from eBay in great condition for just a bit over $100. I got one a couple months ago for $119 and was in near perfect condition and battery seemed like new. I still use a Pixel myself though.

  7. johnh3

    As a first phone a Nokia 2 for $99 would be a option with android. Support micro sd card expansion to. A cheap phone but looks good for the price. And Nokia/HMD Global are good with support and updates to.

    They just announced a follow up Nokia 2.1 2018 edition with stereo speakers that probably will come soon also.

  8. TechnologyTemperance

    I have a Nokia 6.1 and really like it. It's dense, and there are some good cases for it to help make it durable.

  9. AnOldAmigaUser

    I was going to suggest the Nokia 6.1 as well. Since it is Android One, it will get updates for at least the next 2-3 years, which cannot be said for most phones. Added bonus for a child is that these phones are very solid, and should stand up to some abuse, even without a case. Here is an article on good sub $300 phones. Motorola has several options that look interesting. FWIW, Google also has some decent parental controls.

    My kids (and I use the term loosely since the youngest is a HS Junior) have moved on to the iPhone SE. I do not really use the parental controls anymore. If I need to make a point, I do it at the router, and wait to hear the howling.

    If you use an iPhone, I would just go with that, as it will make a lot of things easier. Same if you use Android, just keep everyone on the same platform to reduce headaches.

  10. aThingOrTwo

    I think a Nokia phone would be a good choice as they have had very good reviews and come with Android One so it will stay up to date with the latest software. You can buy unlocked from Amazon, Best Buy or B&H for about $270.00.

    The new Nokia 6 (just updated) would be a good option for durable and good value.

  11. Bats

    $500 phone for a middle schooler? LOL...heck no.

    If you want to give a middle schooler a $500 phone, then that's up to you. However, you gotta think that a kid isn't going to practice the same quality of care that an mature adult would for a phone that costs half a grand. What if the phone gets stolen?

    I would say buy a refurbished Android phone for less than $150 and set the phone up for location sharing on Google Maps, so you would know exactly where that phone/kid is at all times. Just don't tell the middle schooler about that or else he or she will disable it.

    I would not even consider to consider an iOS phone, because let's face it.....Siri isn't so smart and would not be helpful at all for a middle schooler.

    My niece is 11 years old now and she has been using a used Samsung Galaxy S5 phone that used to belong to my dad (her grandfather). She was given that phone when she was 9 years old. She LOVES that phone and still uses it. She plays Roblox on it, Youtube, Netflix, and does Snapchat, Hangouts, Allo,...practically everything on it. NOT JUST THAT (pay attention here), she buys a lot of cases and popsockets for it. Unless your middle schooler is old enough to appreciate a $500 Essential phone, then I would just buy a cheap phone that works, because they are gonna do a lot with it and TO IT.

    Don't go ultra cheap, like Prepaid phones that you see in Walmart, because you are going to run into issues regarding memory storage. 

    Good luck.

    • wright_is

      In reply to Bats:

      You can also get decent new phones in the 100€ - 250€ range. Mywife got a Hauwei P-Smart, quad core processor, fingerprint reader, borderless 18:10 display, dual camera, 32GB memory, Android 8.1 for 250€.

  12. Minke

    Another vote for iPhone SE. Great little phone and won't be as obviously out of date as a cheap Android that never gets updates. In general, the Apple ecosystem is safer from viruses and other problems and it is great to be able to go into an Apple store and get something answered or fixed. Try that with any Android phone! Having said that, I own a Pixel 2 and love the camera more than anything else. A middle schooler might be really into photography, like I was, and could enjoy having a superior camera. But, they are too expensive for someone that age. There is a high probability of any phone being lost, stolen, or destroyed by anyone of any age.