If the time has come for getting your tween their first cell phone, there are a few things that you should really consider. Since much of the team at Twigby are parents ourselves, we know the worries, frustrations, confusion, and overall headaches that can be caused when making this decision. After all, you’re giving your tween a whole new way to connect with the world – and that can be a scary thing! But, we also know the reasons why many parents want to allow their tween to have a cell phone and how to keep your tween safe and responsible when on their cell phone. Below is a list of what you should consider when making this important decision:
1. Should I purchase a basic phone or smartphone?
When we think about cell phones, many times it can be easy to forget that quality flip phones and quality qwerty keyboard phones, are still available to purchase and one of the smartest options when considering your tween’s first cell phone. Why? Because many parents want to keep the internet out of their children’s hands and not putting it in there in the first place is the best way to achieve this. Tweens can still get unlimited texts and 200 minutes with Twigby’s $9 a month plan, and you don’t have to worry about them accidentally or purposefully finding something inappropriate on the internet.
However, there are still many parents who want their tween to have access to the internet and apps, if for nothing else, to be able to install a GPS tracker app from the App Store or the Google Play Store. These apps can be a great way to teach your tween responsibility, and you can rest easy knowing where they are at all times. Also, there are many great educational learning apps available through the App Store and Play Store. Simply put, when monitored correctly, smartphones can be a great tool for education and for learning responsibility while still being controlled to make for a safe experience for every member of your family (we’ll talk more about this below).
2. How much should I spend on their first phone?
In a few short words – not a lot. Phones are bound to be dropped, cracked or broken by tweens. Heck – even parents break our phones from time to time, so buying a $400 cell phone for a tween’s first phone doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Also, with many affordable options, both in basic phones and smartphones, we can’t think of a reason why you’d ever need to spend over $100 on a high-quality cell phone for your tween’s first phone. In fact, at the time of writing, Twigby offers seven smartphones under $100 in our shop!
3. What is the best option for their monthly plan?
A simple and affordable monthly plan is no longer hard to come by, especially at Twigby. We’ve worked hard to create plans that match the usage needs of everyone in the family particularly well. Shared family plans are a thing of the past. We know that not everyone uses the same amount of data or minutes each month, so you shouldn’t have to pay more for unwanted minutes or data just to keep your family’s lines together. To fix this conundrum, Twigby offers families the option to add lines under one account but to keep the lines separate, allowing each individual line to select the plan that’s best for that specific line.
Now, you just need to decide how many minutes and how much data – if any – you want your tween to have on their line. You can create their plan in a matter of seconds using our plan comparison tool.
4. Does the phone come with a warranty?
Much like when buying a new cell phone for yourself, you should always consider whether the cell phone will come with a warranty when buying your tween’s first phone.
The good news is that all New and Certified/Refurbished Twigby phones come with a 30-day warranty from purchase date. Additionally, after 30 days new phones will still have a 1 year warranty through the manufacturer. See our complete warranty information here.
5. How do I turn on parental controls?
Parental controls are a great tool to have in your corner when giving your tween their first cell phone. In fact, nowadays there are many ways to block unwanted content, apps, sites, and more on your tween’s phone, especially on smartphones.
Imore.com has put together an excellent comprehensive guide for taking advantage of all the great parental controls and restrictions that Apple offers for its iPhones. With iPhones, it’s now possible to restrict music, movies, TV shows, apps, and more based on age ratings, as well as block adult websites and other pages in the Safari browser, making the affordable iPhone 5S an excellent choice for Apple-loving parents to give their tween.
Android smartphones also provide parents with the options to make a phone “child friendly,” both through built-in Android systems, as well as through the Google Play Store and the use of apps. Apps like Kidz Zone Parental Controls, Applock and ShieldMyTeen Parental Control are all designed to help parents restrict the availability of unwanted content on their children’s phone.
Buying your tween their first cell phone is a serious decision that requires serious consideration. With the 5 considerations listed above, we hope you’re able to feel informed and more secure about this process knowing that there are easy ways to keep your children safe and responsible, with multiple options available to provide your tween with their first phone without spending too much.
Head to the Twigby phone shop to begin shopping for your tween’s first cell phone.