5 Practical Phones for Kids


Disposable Phones

Like the name implies, these phones are designed to function until the minutes package you purchase has been depleted. After that, you pitch the phone. There are a variety of disposable cell phones on the market, but they typically have limited functionality and carry a bargain basement price tag.

Disposable phones may not be efficient (or green) as a long-term solution, but for a small introductory test period, they'll give your child some practical experience using a cell phone without much risk to you. If he loses the disposable, you won't be out much money, and your child will have learned a valuable lesson. A bad experience might even give you a breather before having to revisit the cell phone discussion again in a month or two.

If your child does treat the phone responsibly, you'll probably feel more comfortable buying him a quality phone and adding him to your family calling plan (with the increased risk of higher-than-expected usage). If there's some initial grousing regarding the disposable option, you can explain that a successful test period may encourage you to opt for a better permanent phone than you would otherwise. Everybody wins.

Disposable phones are also good fall-back options if your child is hard on his stuff and he's going away to camp or to visit relatives for a few weeks. If the phone ends up at the bottom of a lake somewhere, no harm done.