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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

Getting Your Teenager Their First Phone and What Factors to Consider

Can you believe your once little newborn is now in their teens? It happens within a blink of an eye! Aside from having the basics like food, clothing and a roof over their head, a phone is considered an essential these days. With just about everyone owning a smartphone, now may be the time to let your teenager have one.

Navigating the smartphone world can be a difficult one, especially as there are so many to choose from! To help you through the process and find the right phone for your teen, here are some factors to consider and steps to follow.

Establish What the Phone Will Be Used For

Buying a phone for your teen can feel like a tough decision. However, you’ll find the vast majority of their classmates have one already! In fact, kids as young as 4 and 5 are given smartphones for Christmas or their birthday. If you have waited for your child to reach their teens to get a phone, that’s totally fine!

The best place to start when shopping for a phone for your teen is to establish what the device will be sued for. It’s vital to have a sit down and discuss the expectations you have. Will the phone be used while they are in school so they can contact you? Or will they be allowed to go on their phone at home too? You need to figure out the purpose and benefits of getting your teen a phone first before anything else.

Consider Screen Time and App Controls

When picking a phone for your teen, you may want to take app controls and screen time into consideration. Choosing a device that monitors screen time allows you to check in to ensure your teen isn’t spending too much time scrolling through social media, especially when they’ve got homework to do!

App controls play a huge part in how you track your teen’s online activity. If you have a 13 or 14-year-old, they’re still incredibly young, so don’t feel guilty about having a say in what they can and cannot go on with their phone. Parental control apps exist so you can monitor and regulate online activity, and most importantly, keep your teen safe.

Take Out Insurance

Along the same lines of your teen being clumsy, it’s crucial that you take out insurance for your teen’s phone. Doing so will give you peace of mind that you’re covered, especially if your teen loses the phone while out and about or drops it.

Check out Gadget Cover who can help you find the right phone insurance policy. If you’ve decided on an iPhone for example, their iPhone insurance is fairly cheap and will cover you for accidental damage and liquid damage. Make sure to thoroughly read each insurance policy before committing to one. That way you won’t have to worry about any nasty surprises or hidden fees!

Create A Budget

If your teen has been begging for a phone for some time, it’s likely they’ll be looking at all the latest devices which could set you back a fortune! Sure, these phones can be great and offer the user lots of benefits, but you don’t need to get the newest model on the market. Whatever phone you do decide on, it’s crucial that you have a budget in place first.

Establishing a budget will mean you aren’t spending beyond your means and getting into debt, all for the sake of a phone! If your teen is clumsy and always losing belongings, it’s wise to look at more affordable phones, rather than a brand new one!

Consider a SIM-Only Plan

When searching for a phone for your teen, your first thought may be to get them a pay monthly contract. However, just because you have one and are fully responsible for how you use your plan doesn’t mean your teen will follow suit. They may not understand the implications of going over their data, calls, or minutes. Should this happen, you could end up with a hefty bill arriving on your doorstep!

What you may prefer is getting a SIM-only plan for your teen. SIM-only plans can work out to be more cost-effective. What’s more, they can be cancelled or changed at any given time should your circumstances change. One of the drawing factors of a SIM-only plan is they enable you to monitor your monthly phone bill. Because plans are capped at zero, this means your teen cannot overspend on their monthly phone allowance which is great news for all parents!

Ensure Safety Is a Priority

Even though your child is now in their teens and beginning to grow up, that doesn’t mean they have the emotional maturity to fully understand and acknowledge the dangers that present themselves when using a phone. The one thing that should be at the top of your list is safety. Make sure your teen is aware of all the risks that come with the internet and especially social media.

Before handing over the responsibility of a phone, your teen needs to be aware of these risks. Once your teen is clued up on internet safety, this should help you relax knowing they know what steps to take should they ever feel something is off. We teach our kids stranger danger from an early age, so the same should be done when surfing online. Try not to give too much of a lecture about online safety as your teen may simply roll their eyes and not take what you say on board!

It’s safe to say we live in a world where technology has taken over. Even if you believe your teen is old enough to handle the responsibility of owning a phone, it’s normal to still have reservations. For those who are ready to take the plunge, factoring in all the above will help narrow down the list of phones and ensure your teen has a device that they’ll enormously benefit from.


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