Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

 

Knowhow - IT and Technology Help

Knowhow is the award-winning end-to-end services brand supporting Currys PC World. Knowhow strives to better serve customers throughout the lifetime of their products and to help them get the best from their technology. Services include delivery and installation, set-up, repairs and protect.

This article series will be introducing new technologies as well as helping us enjoy and make the most of new products for years to come.

Knowhow No. 35

kids smartphone

There are plenty of reasons why you might consider buying a phone for a child – whether it's so they can get in touch with you in an emergency or simply to get them into technology as early as possible.

For that reason, we’ve put together this helpful list of the very best smartphones for kids, with the needs of the youngest users specifically in mind.

What are the best first smartphones for kids?

The first thing we looked at for a first smartphone was cost: you don’t necessarily want to be paying a lot for a child’s phone, so none of these are going to break the bank.

Size was also a consideration – as larger phones aren’t always suitable for little hands!

Finally, we also looked at the all-important parental controls, where available. For more information on this important subject, take a look at our article on parental controls for Android.

Monqi Kids Smartphone

RRP £149.99

Buy from Carphone Warehouse

The Monqi is a perfect phone for younger kids to use, featuring parental controls from the moment you first turn the phone on! It may not run the latest version of Android, but Monqi’s custom Android OS has all the features a parent might want, like asking your permission every time a game is installed or a new contact is added. The 5 inch screen is perfect for streaming CBeebies and other child-friendly video services, and a plastic case is included in the box to protect the phone from general clumsiness.

To make the most of the Monqi, you’ll need to install the companion app on your own phone during first setup. Once you’ve paired your phone with the Monqi software, you can take control. Don’t like your kids staying up all night playing on their smartphone? Set a time limit for when certain apps can be used and you won’t need to worry about them browsing the internet or playing Angry Birds until dawn. For younger children you can even disable the Play Store entirely, replacing it with Monqi’s own Jungle Store - packed full of kid-friendly apps and games.

You don’t even need to be near your child’s phone to set limits or approve installations, as your companion app takes full control no matter where you are.

We think Monqi is a great way to give the freedom of a phone to kids, while still keeping one hand on the controls.

Apple iPhone SE

RRP £299.00

Buy from Carphone Warehouse

If you already use an iPhone, it makes sense to stick with Apple for the other phones in your household - especially when it comes to adding parental controls to a child’s phone. Not only can you set up family sharing for the apps you’ve already purchased, you can even set up restrictions to hide apps and features, disable the camera and even stop new contacts from being added.

We found the iPhone SE to be the most suitable Apple phone for children, due to its small size and reasonable price tag. It’s got the same fast processor as the iPhone 6s and still gets the latest iOS updates when they’re released, so you won’t be stuck with an outdated phone that can’t run new apps or games. The 4 inch screen might be too small for most adults but is perfectly suitable for children’s hands - just make sure to buy a protective case!

The amount of parental control you have makes this a great phone for kids of any age, whether you want to restrict everything for young children or give a bit more freedom to a teenager. Any parent will be happy to know even in-app purchases can be easily restricted, so no matter which app you allow none of them can surprise you with hidden charges.


Wileyfox Spark Plus

RRP £99.99

Buy from Carphone Warehouse

The Wileyfox Spark Plus is another 5-inch phone, but with the added bonus of an HD screen, making it fantastic for media apps like Netflix. That does also mean it can chew through your data allowance pretty quickly – so consider using a capped data tariff to avoid any nasty surprises when the bill comes round!

This is very much a grown-up phone, in size as well as performance, so it probably isn’t best suited to younger children. However, it would be a great choice for a young teenager, as it'll do everything they could possibly want from a smartphone. Along with the HD screen, there’s a 13 MP rear-facing camera, which can also record in full HD – so if you’re raising a budding YouTuber, they’ll absolutely love this phone!

Obviously, with great power comes great responsibility – and while it’s important to place a certain amount of trust in your child, there’s no harm in taking a few precautions. Keeping hold of their Google account password for accessing the Play Store is a sensible move – or even better, don’t save any payment details to your account, and instead use gift cards to ensure you have full control over any purchases.

If you’re an Android user and want your children to follow suit, the Wileyfox Spark Plus is a great starting point. You can set some restrictions regarding purchases and content – see our article on Android parental controls for more information – but there’s a wide choice of more advanced apps available from the Play store if you want to monitor things more closely, or place stricter restrictions.

 

Motorola Moto C

RRP £89.99

Buy from Carphone Warehouse

When it comes to sound systems, Sony are one of the best known brands in the business, having been around for well over half a century – so it's safe to say they know what they're doing.

Their latest offering in the smart speaker category doesn't disappoint. For a relatively compact speaker, the Sony LF-S50G packs quite a punch with its 360° sound and internal sub woofer.

It also comes with Google Assistant built-in, just say "Ok Google" and tell it to do something, or ask a question - for example, if you're busy in the kitchen just ask it to convert grams to ounces, or set a timer for 30 minutes. 

It's also splash proof, so it can handle a bit of water, and you can even remove the cover to rinse it under the tap if it picks up any marks or stains.

Like most smart speakers, Sony uses your home Wi-Fi to connect to other Sony smart speakers and instead of having it's own dedicated app, you control it through your Google Assistant, so you'll need to download the Google Home app to get it set up. This speaker also gives you the option of connecting via Bluetooth.

ZTE Blade A110

RRP £59.99

Buy from Carphone Warehouse

Another cheap and cheerful handset, the ZTE Blade A110 still won’t break the bank. It’s fairly compact, which suits smaller hands, but the 4-inch screen still gives you a decent amount of space to play on. While it may look small compared to some of the monster phones available, it’s actually the same screen size as the old iPhone 5.

With a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, and twice the storage at 8GB, this phone is a little more capable than the Alcatel Pixi 3 when it comes to entertainment – but it’s up to you whether that’s a good thing or not!

The Blade also trumps the Alcatel in the camera department, with a 5MP rear camera and a 2MP front-facing camera.

 

Which phone should I buy?

As you can see, there’s a great choice of handsets available for children of all ages. With the right apps in place and a protective case, you can ensure that a cheaper phone is going to be safe and secure for your child to use – and any one of the above handsets will do the job, depending on your child’s age and needs.

 

Back to Laterlife Interest Index

 

Bookmark This Share on Facebook Receive more like this

 

Latest Articles:

Plants’ reproductive systems cause summer havoc

Man sneezing

Hay fever is caused by an allergy to pollen and it is incredibly common, probably affecting about one in five people in the UK. Men and women are equally affected.

more

TourismIreland

 

Dublin: coastal towns and villages

Dalkey

Get adventurous and take a trip outside Dublin – you’ll find bloody history, strange legends, castles, hills and even a glimpse of Italy along the shoreline.

more

Gin is the new favourite tonic

Glass of gin

According to a report from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, Britons bought a record 47 million bottles of this clear spirit last year, up by seven million on 2016.

more

Win great prizes in our current Competitions

Click here to visit the competitions page.

Article Archive

The LaterLife Article Archive provides a comprehensive list of links, to all the current regular article series' as well as quick links to older articles.
 
Back to LaterLife Today

Visit our Pre-retirement Courses section here on laterlife or our dedicated Retirement Courses site

Bookmark


Advertise on laterlife.com



LaterLife Travel Insurance in Association with Avanti