The Best Cell Phone Plans for Kids

By Erica Loop
Darrin Klimek/Photodisc/Getty Images

Cell phones are quickly becoming a must for today’s modern kid. Younger children use their cells primarily for safety reasons, while older kids and teens use the technology to connect with friends and browse for information on the Internet. Take your child’s age, your family’s needs and your own comfort level into consideration when choosing a plan.

Economical and Basic

A low-feature mobile that allows your child to place calls, access emergency numbers and text you, if needed, is suitable more many families. A prepaid plan allows you to pay one rate, with no extra charges. This also limits what your child can do on her phone, making it easier to set boundaries. When the data’s done for the month, her cell phone use is over.

Data Plans

A 500MB to 1GB data plan is an acceptable choice for tweens who want to text, browse the Internet, check a social media app or access their email. At this level, you may need to put some restrictions on how often your child can use his phone. He won’t have enough data, however, to constantly stream videos or make a video call to his friends. A 2GB to 3GB plan is necessary if your tween or teen streams music, watches videos or will heavily use the Internet from the phone, according to Consumer Reports.

Just for Kids -- and Parents

Some smart phone services are specifically made for parents who want to strictly monitor their child's usage. For example, Kajeet always allows calls from you to get through, alerts you to your child's whereabouts, lets you limit when your child can use the phone, and blocks texts and calls while your teen is driving.

Unlimited Service

An unlimited plan meets the needs of kids who talk and text constantly, play games or watch full-length TV shows. Even young children in the early elementary years may use phones for these activities. While it’s a pricier plan, you’ll save on overages.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.