Receiving your first cellular phone has become a rite of passage for most youth residing in the technological age. Believe it or not, cellular phones have become an inclusive symbol of social status, autonomy, and identity. However, for most parents—it is a trying and difficult time to navigate. There is a fine line between wanting to be respectful of your child’s independence whilst establishing clear boundaries for safety and appropriate use. It is perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed. Unlike traditional cellular plans, created for adults, children need extra protections, oversight, safety features, app restrictions, developmentally appropriate service, affordability, and a solid data plan.
Luckily, there are many options available.
Here are 6 family-friendly cellular plans for your kids:
- Price Per Month: $19 per month. 4 promotional pricing
- Best Feature: Cost! No contract. No fees. Many data options
Tello is continually featured as having one of the best family-friendly cell phone plans available. Not only are they known for their unique, tailored family plans that allow you to budget for what you need, but they are customer-friendly, with no contract and no hidden fees. Right now, a family of four can get unlimited data and unlimited talk & text for $39 per month, per line. If your needs are less, or you are looking to add your child to their own plan, with promotional pricing, you could pay as little as $4 per month—depending on your needs. Tello has excellent coverage and allows you to carry over your phone, which can save you considerable amounts of money. Lastly, Tello allows easy payment. This eradicates the fear of overages and extra fees so often embedded within cellular plans.
Mint Mobile Wireless
- Price Per Month: $15-$25 that increases after the first three months
- Best Feature: Unlimited talk & text and up to 12 GB a month
If unlimited data is not in your price range, Mint Mobile offers some of the highest data plans available. In addition to 12 GB of data, you get unlimited talk and text, free 5G data (which you have to pay for with most plans) and 0% financing, if you are in need of a new phone. Mint Mobile Wireless is an excellent mid-line option if you are needing more support with purchasing and higher data. However, do be aware the price does increase after the three-month promotion, but ends even then, Mint Mobile gives you the opportunity to renew and continue to save money. With massive coverage, the option to buy or purchase a phone with financing, and higher than average data plans—this is a practical plan for those who need a bit more for a bit less.
Verizon: Just for Kids Plan
- Price Per Month: $35 per line/per month, up to 4 lines
- Best Feature: Unlimited data (for the first line), good price, safety, and solid coverage
Although many plans advertise family-friendly options, this is one of the only cellular plans that specifically calls to “kids” in their title. If you are looking for something developed exclusively for children, then this may be the plan for you. Verizon’s Just for Kids Plan is only $35 a month, which is low compared to some additional plans that do not come with unlimited data or the Verizon coverage network. Furthermore, Verizon empowers parents to take charge of how their kids utilize their service by allowing them to filter content, manage screen time, and track locations. Verizon also provides unlimited talk & text to 20 of their closest contacts! With Verizon, you are in control of your child’s safety, do not have to worry about data caps or sharing data, and can allow your child to keep a close circle of contacts at no extra cost. Plus, you get the benefits of a major network, which may or may not be useful, depending on location. In terms of specification, Verizon’s Just for Kids Plan comes in best overall.
Cricket More Plan
- Price Per Month: $60-160, depending on the number lines ($160 covers five lines)
- Best Feature: Unlimited data. Price includes up to four lines!
Cricket has become a strong contender over the years due to its cost-friendly, customer driven, and no-hassle design. While they do not have a plan distinctly for children, they do offer More plans that were created to support large families retrieve the service and cellular experience they expect for much less than a traditional network. With Cricket, you get unlimited high-speed data, up to 15 GB for hotspot use, unlimited texts, picture, video messages, and video streaming (at high quality), with international features. Children often use their devices at full capacity, making Cricket perfect for the versatile user who enjoys all mobile functions. If the More plan does not work for you, Cricket provides peace of mind through their Core plan, so you do not have to share data between users at a lower cost. Finally, Cricket never makes you sign a contract, checks your credit, and never charges you overages. If you are in the market for customization that costs you less but allows you all the bells and whistles of a traditional plan—Cricket is great for expanding families on a budget.
- Price Per Month: $15-$43.00 per month, depending on data plan
- Best Feature: Safety features and parental support
Twigby is a family-friendly phone service that was created to offer affordability, safety, and overall support. Not only does it offer unlimited talk and text, but it offers three tiers of data, ranging from 3 GB to 10 GB, depending on your individual use. Another feature of Twigby is that you can carry your phones over to their plan, which helps alleviate startup costs and reduces overall cellular waste that occurs often between servicers. Twigby offers dual language support, helps parents establish safety features and protective measures regarding internet and app use, call forwarding, 3-way calling, free hotspot and tethering ability, and promotional pricing for the first six months. Above all, Twigby will never charge you more than the next tier plan! They do not believe over charging their customers. If you need more, you pay for the plan you used instead of hidden data fees and overages. This is a feature of customer service not easily found among providers. However, Twigby is not ideal for those who possess large data needs, the regular streamer, or families who require data to be shared.
Good2Go AT&T Mobile Network
- Price Per Month: $20, $30, $40
- Best Feature: Price and coverage
Let’s talk about prepaid plans! At times, they can work very well for families who are on a budget, who need to be sure there will be no extra fees or overages, or for smaller children who really do need basic service with extras that are mostly used when Wi-Fi is available. Good2Go was built to provide you expected necessities at an affordable price. It is also convenient. At times, we need a phone promptly and with service. This could be true for your child who may be in a situation where you need to provide telephone and data to them but do not have time to consider, plan, and go through all the motions. Children’s needs are unpredictable. Good2Go understands this and makes it easier than ever to get service fast. Other features of Good2Go include coverage by AT&T, which is extensive and far reaching, up to 20 GB data plans, and the ability to carry your approved phone over.
Choose A Kid-friendly Phone
While it is important to choose the best plan for your budget and needs, it is equally vital to choose a phone that works well for children. Durability, price, and features should be at the forefront of your mind. It is no surprise that kids are hard on phones! They drop them. Fling them. Put them down and run off with their peers. Place them in forgettable places… And are much more likely to have their phone stolen and broken. Be sure your plan is either budget-friendly enough where constant replacements would not be an issue or choose a plan where you can purchase additional phone insurance (though replacements are often limited to one or two phones a year). Keep in mind that insurance is on top of your monthly costs and runs around $12 or more.
Durability is another aspect of phone purchasing for kids you should keep in mind. Depending on the age of your child, iPhones and other popular choices may not be conducive to daily mistreatment, as they are easily broken, and their screens easily shatter. Some parents prefer purchasing smart watches because children can strap them to their wrists, play as they normally would, and still have phone features. This is ideal for younger children or children on the go. TimeX through T Mobile is available for only $7 a month and the Gizmo is available for $4.16 per month through Verizon. These plans exist on top of your monthly phone plan. This could be a valuable addition to a family who already has a phone plan established. Some watches can work from Wi-Fi, while others need a phone plan to work from—but this might be a great protective feature for children who need all the functions of a phone, without the hassle of taking care of it.
One of the most frequent questions posed by parents searching for plans for their child is “how much data do I need?” Of course, the answer depends on your comfortability, the developmental age of the child, how your child will be using the phone (is YouTube and other functions going to be utilized?), and accessibility to Wi-Fi. Obviously, choosing a plan that has no data limits provides parents with peace of mind. An alternative to this would be to purchase high-end, silicone phone cases and around the neck cellular phone carrying devices, to further protect your investment.
Watching an hour of YouTube can range between 480mb to 2.7GB depending on your playback quality and definition. As you can see, data can be consumed quickly even with the most minimal streaming outside of a Wi-Fi network. This is additionally true for any popular children’s apps that need data and all forms of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok.
Similarly, if unlimited talk and text is important to you—take that into consideration as well. Children and adolescents use phones differently, both in how they communicate, interact with their peers, and prioritize phone applications. It is much easier to consider these factors now rather than later so you can avoid hidden fees, overages, and exorbitant costs. Choosing a plan that is a little more for data could potentially save you in the long run.
Prepaid phone plans are a smart, cost-friendly option of keeping your monthly cost low and data in check. A lot of parents utilize this method, especially for their younger children who do not need all the luxuries of a traditional plan, but still receive the perks of phone, app, and streaming use that appeal to younger phone users.
Read Your Contract
Due Diligence is your natural protection against associated costs, fees, overages, and hidden monthly hikes. When it comes to cell phone plans, especially those targeted toward children, transparency is key. It is more than okay to ask your potential provider as many questions as you need before deciding. If you need to take time to read your contract, do not fall prey to pushy sales tactics. Keep in mind your individual phone habits (if they are going on your plan), your child’s natural use and phone tendencies, and monthly budget as you proceed in making your decision.
Here are some helpful communication points:
- Does my plan come with unlimited talk and text?
- What happens if my child loses, breaks, or damages their phone?
- What data plans do you offer?
- How much will it cost me if my child goes over data?
- Does data roll over?
- What phones do you have that work best for children?
- What safety, parental controls, and other features does your plan and phone’s offer
- Will my monthly payment ever change?
- What is the bottom-line cost per month, including fees and all other considerations?
- What makes your family-friendly or children plan different than your other plans, and what do you offer that no one else does?
Cellular Plans for Kids
Whether you are in search of protective features, safety, budget-friendly costs, robust data plans, unlimited talk & texts, prepaid features, or a phone you can pick up on the go for your child, here are 8 cost effective, kid-friendly plans available to meet your needs.