What is a good phone for a 12 year old?

12 year old phoneSo my oldest daughter starts high school in 2016 and, apparently, this means that she needs a mobile phone. Heaven forbid that she should have to catch public transport or walk more than 200 meters without being armed with a phone! And of course it needs to be a smartphone because heaven forbid (again) that it should just be a phone that, you know, makes phone calls.

In fact having sought the advice of pretty much every Gen Y (and their parents) that I know, it seems that making phone calls is probably the least most-common thing that my daughter will use her phone for.

Some of the responses from family and friends to my emailed request for advice included the following:

  • “We chose a ‘post-paid as you go’ voice plan – and added a 100GB pre-paid data pack to it (which expires after 12months). This in essence lets her make phone calls if she needs to and it lets her receive calls (so we can get a hold of her).
  • “To be honest – she’s racked up less than $10 in nine months on the outbound calling side. She’s hardly used any of the Data pack because she has the iPhone 4 hooked up to our home wireless broadband (which gets used when she’s at home).
  • “She has her own email address configured on the phone – but rarely checks it (as she has one she uses at school – which is sync’d through her laptop).  She probably uses the phone more as a camera and some texting – and not much else – which is the way we like it!”
  • “We use a prepaid SIM, which costs around $30 a month. Always give them a cheap phone that no one will want to pinch. The phone will get lost or broken, and too much data will mean the child spends time playing games.”
  • “I have my son’s phone on a pre-paid contract @$70 per month – pricey I know but I do not get any unexpected layouts.
  • “My son is mainly using data, at 7GB superb, for the usual Facebook (main contact for friends) and Internet searches I don’t see him using the call features or text much but I do call him and get it very cheap to $0 with the combined bill.”
  • “I use a BYO mobile plan which has free SMS and plenty of data. It’s the data that kids use, not the calls.”
  • “My personal phone is with Skinny, it is a prepay combo at $16 a month – pretty good deal. And when I was a student I loved  that top ups start at $5.”
  • “We bought our daughter a second hand iPhone. She wanted an Apple phone as ‘a lot’ of her friends have iPhones (most have new iPhone though).
  • “We have bought the phone outright so we use a month by month plan that has internet access and $650 worth of calls.
  • “She uses her phone to keep in contact with me, to send texts and to FaceTime her friends regularly and to access Instagram.”
  • “We chose a prepay $30 a month and it gets 2GB of data and unlimited texts (which I definitely appreciate) and unlimited calls (which I never use).
  • “2GB I’ve found is more than enough for me – and I use Facebook, Gmail, and web browsing about once a day, then keep data turned off the rest of the day. Plus, the data doesn’t expire, it rolls over (so you can endlessly accumulate more data) if you prepay before your month’s credit expires.”
  • “Whatever provider you go with, get a prepaid phone that gives you great data usage (which is exactly what Gen Y needs) and unlimited text.  Or any plan that has unlimited text and over 2GB of data will do.”

It’s all good food for thought …

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