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How to choose the best phones for teens and your budget?

The best phones for teens: All you need to know

Pick an affordable smartphone for your teenager and educate them about social media, expenses and screen time. Limit costs with a prepaid SIM.

The best phones for teens: All you need to know

The day has come. Your teenager wants his or her own phone. And not just a phone, a smartphone. How do you go about choosing an appropriate age to give your child a smartphone for teenagers with which they can stay in touch, chat, or browse the internet and social media? What are the best mobile phones for teens?

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about phones for teens - from picking the right moment to get one, to choosing the right model and phone plan, as well as discussing phone rules with your teen.

Deciding to get your teen a mobile phone

Children can be pretty adamant about wanting and needing their own phone – and about the type of phone they want. You know your child best. Take your time when it comes to deciding if you feel the time is right for a mobile phone for your child.

Importantly, don’t think that smartphones are the only phones for teens. Based on your preferences, there are plenty of options for cheap phones for teenagers without internet access, or with internet access.

After all, you’ll be picking up the phone bill. So you have the full right to consider phones for teens that are easily affordable. You don’t have to start your teen off with an iPhone, especially not a brand new one. Instead, you may want to look into a cheaper type of mobile phone, or a previous phone from a friend or relative. Before you look into choosing phones for teens, remember that the device is also an opportunity to teach your child responsibility. It's not uncommon to agree with your child that a newer phone might be given in the future, when a trial period has been completed.

Ask yourself if your teenager can act responsibly with their phone, keep it safe, guard the cost of texting and calling and browsing, and more. Do you think it’s time to get a mobile phone for your teen? Let’s dive in.

Preparing your teen for safe phone use

Before picking phones for teens, prepare them and talk to them about the internet and mobile safety for teens. Ideally, this conversation should start before they start at their secondary school, but it’s never too late. Make sure to watch some educational content together online, about using your phone safely.

Using social media on phones for teens

If you feel comfortable enough to allow your teen to start using a smartphone, it's time to sit down and have a couple of chats about the use of social media. For teens under the age of 16 parents can create a co-account on social media. You can keep an eye on what's communicated and set up parental control filters for browsing and social media with a free Parental Control app. Monitor your teens on social media and help them stay safe online.

Tip: setting a limit on screen time (and ending screen time at least 3 hours before bed time) is a must with most teenagers. As a parent you have every right to be picky about the apps that your teenager can use on their phone. Make sure to discuss which apps are allowed and have an ongoing open conversation about apps, the use of their phone and what goes on online.

Phones for teens: Choosing the device

One of the first questions to ask yourself when researching phones for teens is whether you need a new one?

If your old phone still works, why not give that to your teen? It’s a good way to save money. Do bear in mind, however, that the operating system of old phones is often no longer updated.

Do you prefer a brand new phone for your teen? An Android phone is often the cheapest option. Brands such as Huawei make Android phones in an affordable price range.

Choosing cheap new phones for teens

It's possible to buy your teenager a good quality phone from around £200. Cheaper phones often have less storage space, ranging around 16 or 32 GB. Also, the camera is often of lower quality. This should not be a problem, unless your teenager is an aspiring professional photographer!

Android phones for teens

Of course you don't want to pay too much for your son or daughter's (first) smartphone. And yet your son or daughter will probably think it's important to look good with his/her new smartphone. Fortunately there are many excellent entry-level phones for teens available for a small price nowadays. Make the most of re-sale platforms or shops, or buy a second hand phone or a cheaper new phone.

Some examples of good and affordable Android phones for teens are:

  • The Samsung Galaxy A7: A great choice if you are looking for a cheaper Android phone for teenagers. The sturdy design features a metal body. The triple camera takes good quality photos and the 3300 mAh battery is strong. This easy to use phone has 4 GB of operational memory. A perfect choice as a mobile phone for teens!

  • The Huawei P Smart (2019): Another smart choice if you are looking for a good Android phone.This phone offers plenty of memory to hold photos and videos. At the back, there is a double 13 and 2 megapixel camera with useful functions, and a good 8 megapixel selfie camera at the front. The large screen (6.2 inches) is ideal for teenagers who'd like to play games on their phone.

  • The Sony Xperia L3 Android phone has a simple design that appears to be quite sturdy. The 5.7 inch screen made of strong Gorilla Glass is unbreakable and large enough to be able to watch videos and play games. This phone holds 32 GB of memory.

iOS phones for teens

iPhones are of course very popular with children and teens. However, you may not immediately want to shell out a large sum of money for an expensive phone. The iPhone SE can be a good alternative for a costly new iPhone for teens with all the latest features. The A13 Bionic processor will keep this phone going for a long time. Of course you can always ask around in your circle of friends, most iPhone fans have older unused iPhones lying around at home that they might be willing to sell.

The best phones for teenagers without internet

Teens and social media are not always a great combination. You would not be the first parent to notice that your child spends a lot more time on social media than you'd like. The time that teens spend on phones can get a little excessive. If you want to make sure your teen is staying off social media, consider a phone without internet. Such options can be good starter phones for teens and help build healthy internet and social media habits.

An example of a good phone for teenagers without internet is the Nokia 225 4G. It is affordable, offers no internet and is sturdy. It's a good phone and as 2G and 3G networks will be shut down by carriers, the 4G option is a great choice. But if you're going down this road, you can choose any of the cheaper mobile phones that are simply made for texting, calling and playing a few games that come with the phone.

This being said, you can still buy a smartphone for your teen and choose to use the Parental Control settings (or an app for this) on the device itself. With this you can block certain websites, stop your teenager from going online altogether and more.

After you pick a phone for your teen

Introduce a few simple cell phone use rules before you give your child their own phone. Think of rules about using the phone at home, after school time for example. When and for how long are you happy for your teenager to use their phone at home? Are their certain rooms in the house (the bedroom, the dining room) in which you want to limit phone use? Would you like your child to hand in their phone a few hours before bedtime?

Cell phone rules for 16 year olds

Setting clear rules can help avoid distractions from home work, social time with friends and responsibilities at home. Put the phone on a charger for your teenager overnight and hand it back in the morning before school. This way you can actively limit screen time. Research has shown that too much screen time and time spent on social media can have a negative effect on the mental health, sleeping and social life of your teen. Read more about the latest research on screen time.

Educate your child on the potential dangers - and recognising these – online or in chat rooms. Teach them to never pay for anything (or buy anything) without your consent. Make your teenager aware of cyberbullying. Keep an open dialogue about online activities and make sure to emphasise that your teenager can always discuss things with you. Limit social media accounts to one account and stay aware of conversations and online behaviour.

Phone plans for teenagers

After your search for phones for teens has been successful, the moment comes to pick a phone plan for your teen.

If costs and teaching responsibility are high on your priorities list, consider a prepaid phone plan for your teen. You can top up your teenagers' phone online anytime, from anywhere. Using a prepaid phone plan enables you to stick to a clear limit on phone costs for your teenager. It also creates an opportunity to teach them how to monitor their phone costs.

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