If you’re in the market for a phone for your son or daughter, you need to make sure that you’re not going to end up with massive bills. Take a look at how to find the best mobile contract for children.
I recently bit the bullet and let my daughter have a mobile phone. She will be going to secondary school in just over 6 months and all of her friends seem to have one.
However, I soon discovered that choosing the right phone and mobile contract for children is an absolute minefield. There are 1000’s of contracts out there and don’t even get me started on the cost of new phones…
So, after a couple of months of searching, I’ve decided to share with you what I’ve found. Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all when choosing a phone and contract for your child, but I hope some of the tips below will help you decide.
SIM only or contract phone?
As most of us are aware, the easiest way to buy a phone is through a ready-made bundle. You choose your phone and receive a certain number of minutes, text and data every month. Depending on the phone and contract, this could cost you anything between £15 and £70 per month.
However, I have found that this doesn’t always give you the best value. Buying a phone and a SIM separately can save you money. Plus, you’re more likely to find the exact phone you want and the contract that suits your needs the most.
Choosing the right phone for your child is a tough choice. Don’t be fooled, even young kids are clued up to the best phones available. They know which is the latest iPhone model and which one their friends have. But that’s not to say you should give your child the newest £1000 phone. I get nervous if my daughter carries the shopping, so there is no way she is having an expensive phone.
If you have recently upgraded or are due to soon, you could always give your child your old phone. If that’s not an option, there are plenty of second-hand phones available through eBay and Facebook Marketplace.
Alternatively, you can buy a cheap, brand new phone. Argos have phones from as little as £17.95. However, popular opinion from children seems to point towards them preferring a 4-year-old iPhone rather than a brand new Nokia that doesn’t have a touch screen.
Plenty of places offer finance options so you can pay for the phone monthly. But be aware that finance can be pricey, so check the terms and conditions carefully.
So which is the best contract available for children? Again, there is no contract suitable for everybody and depends on what you think suits your child’s needs.
There are 3 main parts that make up a mobile contract – minutes, texts and data.
Minutes and texts are much easier to deal with now. Gone are the days where you’re limited to sending just 100 texts per month with most contracts offering unlimited amounts for both.
Data is where it becomes a little trickier. Most kids seem to be constantly watching videos on YouTube which will eat up data in no time at all. So, you can either pay for a contract with lots of data or just tell your child to limit what they watch.
There are plenty of good prices available for 3-5GB per month. More than that and your monthly fee will rise accordingly.
It’s all very well telling your kids to limit how much they watch on YouTube, but they rarely listen. And the last thing you want the following month is a bill for over £100 because they’ve been watching some random fella playing Fortnite.
That’s why a tariff cap can be useful. You can set a limit to how much your child can spend before further charges are stopped. For example, my daughter has a £1 spending cap. Once she’s used either all of her minutes/data/texts, she can spend £1 and that’s it. She has unlimited texts and minutes, so this should only stop her from accessing the internet.
If you don’t want multiple SIMs across your family, you could take a look at a family plan. How family plans work differs across different networks.
For example, o2 will give you between 10-40% off additional airtime plans.
EE gives you 10% off for every additional line you add and a 1GB data boost. Plus, you can move spare data around between accounts.
Sky now allows family members to roll over their spare data to others on the same account.
The best mobile phone contract for children?
As I said earlier, choosing the best contract for your child depends on how generous you feel.
For my daughter, I gave her my old iPhone as I had recently upgraded. That meant it was just a matter of choosing a SIM-only contract.
In the end, I opted for a SIM through Sky Mobile. For £6 per month, she receives unlimited texts, minutes and 3GB of data. Plus, I am able to roll over unused data to the following month. But most importantly, I was able to set a spending cap online immediately. This could be anything I chose, but I opted for just £1.
Which was just as well. On the 1st day, my daughter hit her spending limit when she started sending picture messages to her cousin. It took her under an hour!
Plus, Sky Mobile also has plenty of cashback deals available. I bought through TopCashback, earning £30 cashback. That means that the first 5 months of the contract are free!
I hope this guide on how to find the best mobile phone contract for kids has proved useful. Why not also take a look at my KidStart review? You can earn money to put into your child’s savings account every time you shop.