Conventional Cell Phones
Even though smartphones are getting most of the hype these days, a conventional cell phone may incorporate just the right blend of functionality and common sense for your youngster. The idea here is that leaving off some of the bells and whistles will keep your child from getting too distracted. Conventional cell phones can be a bargain, too, and may be offered free when you sign a service contract. They'll likely at least be sold at a discount when you add your child to an existing family plan. If you buy them outright, these phones can sell for as little as $20, with an upward limit of around $150. At the low end of the price range, the phone will still allow your child to preprogram frequently called numbers and send and receive texts. According to Consumer Reports, the layout of these basic units is somewhat compact, but the operation is still pretty straightforward.
Higher-end conventional cell phones offer some of the features you might expect in the more expensive smartphones, including: touch screens, Bluetooth functionality, QWERTY keyboards, onboard data storage, a full browser, some single gaming capability and programmable functions like customized ringtones. This may be more functionality than you want your child to have access to, though. All phone equipment isn't compatible with all service providers, so check for the best service deal before you shop.