My first smartphone - a parent's guide (updated)

Getting your child their first smartphone is a big leap in trust and responsibility for them and a sometimes a worry for parents. The road to freedom.

The phone

There are so many new handsets available, from about £100 to over £1500, and even more if you include the second-hand market. Buying the latest “must have phone” can lead to a huge drain on parental resources as today's must have will be replaced within 6 to 12 months.

Getting a new phone is always better than getting something with used with a few scratches or dents. As in all things second hand – buyer beware – as you may have little or no warranty and or refund opportunity.

We fully recommend any of the following phones as the idea first smart phone, the Alcatel 1 series starting at around £60, the Nokia C01 Plus at around £90, the Motorola Moto G22 at around £140.   All have great 5"-6" (12cm-15cm) screens, fast processors and run Google Android OS 11 or 12. All have at least cameras, one for great photos and one front facing camera for the obligatory selfie taking - nothing is ever missed or forgotten.


Through the Apple App and Google Play stores every app you will ever want or need is available. The most popular ones are free. Whether it is social medial and chatting with their friends, games or even educational and learning tools the library of 100,000s of apps is there to explore.

Music, videos and movies

The world of music, either streamed or downloaded, is endless. Be sure that any favourite music is downloaded when on Wi-Fi so that it does not use large amounts of data is streamed when out and about.

With a 5"-6" screen watching and streaming videos and movies are a joy to watch. And being able to plug in headphones means you don't have to listen to the same movie, music video or cartoon over and over again.

School work

Check with your child's school about their phone policy. Some are restrictive while other encourage the use of a smartphone for taking notes, quick research and study aids. A smartphone is a computer in your pocket.


With our complete account control features you can determine the level of use and the types of communications your children can have:

Data – you can disable 3G, 4G and 5G data. The phone can still use all the apps etc., but only on Wi-Fi. This gives you the greater control of knowing when your child is online.

Texting – we are the only network that allows you to disable texting (SMS) messages. Often texting is used by bullies to intimidate their victim. It can also be used by companies for marketing purposes. With texting disabled you know your child cannot engage with these messages.

Safety – even with both data and texting disabled you child can always make a phone call. It's good to talk!

Additional advice

For independent advice on how to set restrictions on mobile devices and manage access to apps see  

Useful links and resources at kidslox

We also thoroughly endorse the work done by The Breck Foundation - which strives to educate the digital generation...

Further reading

A recently published in-depth guide to parental control from the Anti-Virus-Guide website:

The Ultimate Social Media Safety Guide for Kids [2022]: