What’s the best age for a child to get their first phone?
The average age for children to get their first phone in the UK is 10 years old. This is likely due to the number of changes in their level of responsibility during the transition to secondary school. Many have to take the bus by themselves or travel further to go to school.
A phone is a useful device for keeping in touch with your child and is a great tool to keep them safe and more recently assist with online learning.
This has become even more apparent in the current situation where children are being home schooled and having to attend Zoom lessons via a computer or smart device.
When buying a device for your child there are thousands of options available depending on what you would like them to be using a smart phone for. And, of course, they are going to want the latest and most expensive device, regardless of if you are going to look after it or not.
It’s going to get broken
Regardless of what device you buy them and how well you to choose to protect it with a case and screen protector, your child will find a way to break it.
Whether it’s because of a simple drop that breaks the screen, or all too common liquid damage the structural integrity of the phone you choose to trust them with will be tested.
Because of that you are going to want a device that is not too expensive to buy and fairly easy and cheap to repair in the long term.
Depending on the age of your child and their level of critical thinking you may also wish to disable access to the Internet or even get them a phone that can only make calls.
Below we have a few suggestions for your child’s first phone and why we think they would make a good first phone.
An iPhone is one the most expensive phones your child could ask for. If they were looking for the latest one, even worse is the cost to repair these devices when they inevitably get damaged.
Strangely enough though some of the older iPhones make great first-time devices due to the low cost to repair. If you’ve got an old iPhone 5, iPhone SE, iPhone 6 or even an iPhone 7 or iPhone 8 in the drawer these will make great first-time devices.
Their small size makes them easy to carry and ideal for your child and there is an abundance of protective gear and cases available for them.
Should they manage to break the screen on their phone – iPhone screen repairs are the most frequent repair we see each week – they are the most cost effective to repair.
An iPhone 6s screen can be replaced from £55. Even an iPhone 8, which is the newest of the iPhones we would recommend, is only £70 to replace the screen.
In addition, iOS has several parental control apps and tracking information so you can manage your child’s access to application, monitor their screen time and ensure they are being safe online.
If the phone should get lost or stolen the find my phone application is also very useful for getting it recovered, or destroying your child’s personal data should you believe that something malicious has happened to it.
The Majority of Samsung phones, while fairly cost effective in comparison to some of the latest iPhones, have high repair costs should the screen be damaged.
A few of the “A” lines are fairly ok first-time phones. These models have plastic back panels and screen replacements are available for less than £100.
Should you feel like you can trust your child not break the screen and be careful with the device the Samsung Galaxy A10 or Galaxy A11 are excellent entry-level devices. If they do break, they are cheaper to repair than most Samsung devices.
Android has several 3rd party apps that can be used to manage their internet time and keep track of where the device is.
Huawei phones are becoming more and more popular in the UK. They have several very cost-effective models such as the Y7 2019, the Huawei P Smart 2019 and the Huawei P30 Lite. All of these are decent entry level devices that won’t break the bank and cost less then £120 to repair.
While they are more expensive than Samsung and Apple, we see less of these brought in for repair each week. So it appears that they have a more resilient build, likely due to the types of materials used to make these phones being less for looks and more for protection.
As an Android device, the Huawei has all the software that can be found on the App store like the Samsung’s so any parental controls or tracking software would-be third-party apps. Overall Huawei is very similar to Samsung being slightly less brand focused and a margin cheaper to buy.
A few extra options
There has been a lot of advertising of late for the Google Pixel 4a and the iPhone SE 2020 being good entry level phones. While they are very good phones and we highly recommend them they are at a mid-range price of around £300-£400 and can be very expensive to repair.
If you are thinking of picking up a specific device for your child, just take a quick glance at our repair page for the device and see how repairable it actually is, should the device go wrong or be damaged because it more than likely will get dropped and broken at least once in its life.