No clue about phones for kids

(42 Posts)
Woodacorn Mon 24-Oct-16 21:47:05

Our DS is 11 soon and currently Year 6. We want to get him a phone for his birthday. I think quite a lot of kids get them when they go to secondary (I know not all do). We thought it might be better to get him one for his birthday as he is going to find the transition to secondary difficult anyway and I don't want lots of new things to make it seem even more of a big thing. For example he is also going to get a new rucksack for Christmas which he can take to secondary so that isn't something new either. He has saved up £100 and we will make up the rest.
I have only ever had a phone with a contract and I am really embarrassingly unaware about the options and what is best for a child.
I would really appreciate any advice on phones (very basic advice would be great!). Eg would a contract or pay as you go be best? An older iPhone or an alternative brand? What apps ar appropriate for an 11 year old and how to monitor them? Money is an issue for us. DS himself doesn't get regular pocket money but gets stickers for helping around the house and 8 stickers earns him £1 plus he gets birthday/Christmas money which he is starting to prefer rather than toys/things.
Thanks.

Woodacorn Mon 24-Oct-16 21:48:35

PS I should say I have an iPhone myself if that is useful info.

FanSpamTastic Mon 24-Oct-16 21:56:36

I can recommend Tesco's contract. You can cap the monthly ones so that they cannot over spend. Or you could do pay as you go.

We started off with very basic £20 phones from Tesco - all they could really do with them was call and text. Deal was that if they showed they could look after them and not lose them then we would get a better one after that. My daughters have different philosophies - one likes android and has a Moto Play but the other wanted an iPhone and saved up all her Christmas and birthday money to buy a second hand one.

Meadows76 Mon 24-Oct-16 21:57:45

Ask your child what he wants? Seems a bit odd that you are buying him a new bag at Christmas for starting school the following what August/September. Also making him pay £100 towards his birthday present?

Woodacorn Mon 24-Oct-16 22:20:15

Meadows. He wants "a phone". I don't know what sort is best for an 11 year old so I am asking for advice. We can't afford to buy big expensive presents for Xmas/birthdays as we have 4 kids so we have said if he saves up £100 we will pay the rest.
We are buying him a bag for Xmas because his primary school book bag would not be suitable for senior school so it seemed a good gift for Xmas. If we wait for the following Xmas/birthday he will already have started.
Going to secondary school is already causing him anxiety. We are trying to make it less of a big thing. We know that if he starts in September with a brand new shiny phone/bag/coat etc etc everything will seem even more of a big deal. If we can get him a few things now he will have a least a few familiar things.
Maybe you can just afford to buy everything new for a child in the September before they start secondary but we can't so are spreading the cost of things a bit. He will need a lap top as well as new uniform in September.
I was wondering if he could use his money he earns and gets for birthday/Xmas to pay as you go or would a contract be best etc etc

Fan spam thank you. I did wonder about a really cheap phone but wasn't sure if it was a false economy or if internet access was common/usual for first phones.

charlestrenet Mon 24-Oct-16 22:29:12

I went for buying one outright that I could afford to replace without too much hassle and a sim only deal through id that is capped and that runs on a month by month basis. Ime most kids that age don't expect to have many minutes and they stay in touch through Skype and text. It's handy for them to have some kind of way to get online but again they all seem to have quite low data allowances. I find Motorola good vfm as do my geeky friends who look into these things way more than I do.

PopFizz Mon 24-Oct-16 22:36:01

We bought a second hand iPhone 5C, the 16gb storage ones are about £150 second hand.

Then we bought a 99p tesco payg SIM. For every £10 we top up, DS gets an extra £20 for a month. It's meant £10 lasts about two months and that's with playing Pokemon go, texting, ringing, WhatsApp etc.

And working in a secondary school even an iPhone 4 is ok. As are a lot of android phones. Just tbh avoid a Nokia windows phone as the app store is pretty crap.

PopFizz Mon 24-Oct-16 22:37:30

^ and we didn't pay £150 outright. We swapped an old phone, and put some money is as well as DS putting some in. Because he wanted to play Pokemon go. And secondary school will be a massive anxiety for him next September.

Fleurdelise Mon 24-Oct-16 22:40:44

I am looking for phones for DD who will start walking to school in the summer term so I need to know she got there ok as the school is not very close.

I have decided we will get a second hand iPhone 5c (the coloured ones) which sell at around £100-£120. Then we'll get a pay as you go. I want the iPhone because I know how to use it, you can use "find my friends" to track them down for example if you connect your phones, and it isn't the latest model to make them a target.

happymumof4crazykids Mon 24-Oct-16 22:40:53

I got my son an iPhone 5c on Tesco £21 per month phone and unlimited calls/ texts 1g of data. It's what most of the year 7s had this year. It wasn't a present but he has chores to do as we pay for his phone and cinema pass.

Fleurdelise Mon 24-Oct-16 22:42:16

X post with PopFizz

PopFizz Mon 24-Oct-16 22:45:15

The coloured iPhone 5Cs are fairly robust, and still pretty well wanted by teens. A lot where I work have them. I got one myself on pay monthly on Tesco, for about £24 a month a couple of years back. They're good phones. Especially for years 6-10.

WhyRude Mon 24-Oct-16 22:47:30

If I were you I'd give him your old iPhone and get a new one for myself. If you are used to using an iPhone it should be easy for you to set up parental controls on his phone. It's a lot of responsibility for an 11 year old to have an expensive phone. It's a worry if it gets broken or stolen.

My DCs are at Uni now but are still more than happy with my hand me downs.

LynetteScavo Mon 24-Oct-16 22:50:04

You have to buy a laptop for secondary school? shock

Anyway, I'd just get him a second hand iPhone off eBay, and go with a PAYG sim.

PopFizz Mon 24-Oct-16 22:51:53

Lynette, most schools round here you have to buy either a laptop, or tablet. Around £3-400. Most let you do installments. But they need them for Y7.

RaingodswithZippos Mon 24-Oct-16 22:52:03

We gave our son his older brother's old iPhone when he started secondary school, then when he was 15 we upgraded him to a 5S (I think?) On a sim only contract from O2.

ilovegreen Mon 24-Oct-16 22:55:18

I got my son cheapest contract £5 per month with i3, free phone too, but if you go over data/mins it will go up to £10 per month (max). If he holds on to that phone for the year I'll let him up grade to more expensive one.

AliMonkey Mon 24-Oct-16 23:09:09

DD is in y7. We bought phone for her for her y6 birthday. We bought iPhone 4s secondhand on ebay and she is on Vodafone PAYG. I top it up by £10 every two months which is plenty as gives her 1000 free texts for first month after topping up and she is sensibly hardly using it for internet etc unless she is on wifi as knows she would have to pay herself if wants more. Most of her friends have similar although some have more recent expensive phones and a couple have non-smartphones.

If you do buy secondhand, check what network it is locked to as you probably won't be able to change it.

Brokenbiscuit Mon 24-Oct-16 23:09:52

We bought dd a second hand handset (iPhone 4) and she has a SIM only contract with 3 mobile. I think we pay £8 per month for unlimited texts, some calls (100 mins?)and a small amount of data. However, she also gets free calls to other 3 mobiles, which includes me, her dad, and most of our family, and she can use WiFi at home to FaceTime her friends, so she rarely uses all her minutes.

Quite like the package we have because it means that we can cap her usage so that she doesn't have to worry about overspending, but we also know that she'll always be able to call us in an emergency.

BertrandRussell Mon 24-Oct-16 23:13:00

I do think a school bag as a Christmas present is a bit sad, though sad

PopFizz Mon 24-Oct-16 23:14:19

Depends on the bag tbh. I've had bags as presents if they're expensive ones I wanted. My first ever secondary school bag was a birthday present in the august. Didn't scar me for life or anything.

Meadows76 Mon 24-Oct-16 23:46:20

Oh come on. I understand not being able to afford to buy everything in one go but his high school bag as a Christmas present 9 months early? That's really bad.

Add to that you need to buy a pay as you go SIM card, if you can't afford a school bag in august a contract is unlikely to suit your budget.

PberryT Mon 24-Oct-16 23:51:42

The school bag is sad, and also makes secondary school a huge thing as you are preparing so far in advance.

I also agree re the phone, if you can't afford a bag, then you can't afford a contract phone.

Buy a cheap smartphone outright and go on a sim only payg deal.

maz99 Mon 24-Oct-16 23:56:38

I got my DD a Alcatel Pixi 3 from EE for school... it cost £19.99 for the phone and is on pay as you go. It's the cheapest 4G phone out there.

CrystalGlitz Tue 25-Oct-16 00:20:49

A Wileyfox smartphone - bloody brilliant and my hard-to-please 11 year olds love them. Has all the features he will need, plus totally customisable and excellent quality.

Wileyfox Swift on Amazon

Team it with a £5 monthly 'goody bag' pay as you go deal from Giff Gaff, and Bob's your uncle. smile

£5 Giff Gaff - easy to set up

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