Most parents know that too much screen time is not good for their kids (source), but in today’s modern world there are times when parents just have to reach their kids. During emergencies, it is good to know your kids have a device they can rely on.
What type of device they wind up with depends on their age and what their parents think they should have. This list provides you with the range of products currently available that would meet the needs of a child whose parent would want them to have a cell phone in case of an emergency.
Relay Kids Screenless Smartphone
Are you amazed that some phones have no screen? No need to be. Some products actually have no screen because of the purpose behind their creation. Enter the Relay Kids Screenless Smartphone. The phone has no screen and is resistant to water.
The phone was designed just for kids. It functions like a walkie-talkie and is the perfect communication device for families. There is no need for complex navigation by your kids. You can put your whole family on one channel and can talk back and forth with ease.
It can connect via WiFi or 4G LTE. It has an inbuilt GPS which allows a parent to be able to track the child’s whereabouts if need be. There are fun features like the joke channel and the translation feature. All you need is the companion app on your phone. All settings and channels are managed there, putting you in complete control.
Also, since kids are handling it, it might fall…. a lot. There is no cause for fear. No screen = no screen issues. It does not use the internet, so there is no reason to try to block anything. The kids can easily reach you when they need to. The phone is portable and you can fix it to their jacket or backpack.
You can also employ the one-touch alternative, which makes it easy for you as a parent to speak with your kids via your smartphone. The device is very user-friendly and straightforward. A child as little as three years can handle this gadget conveniently.
Relay is an affordable device that should meet the needs of most parents.
As a parent, VTech is probably not a new name to you. VTech is a maker of kid toys but has now advanced by making one of the best cell phones for kids. Although the phone presents as a smartphone for kids, it has advanced features in its settings that give you a lot of control.
Your child can send and receive text and voice messages, photos, drawings and animated stickers through this device. All communication is done over WiFi, there is no phone service available.
The phone has its own approved contact list so you can predetermine who the kids can reach. You can take charge as the parent and approve who stays on the contact and who doesn’t. It also has a 180-degree camera for taking pictures and video. There are over 40 preloaded games that feature math, spelling, science, problem solving and music.
The device itself comes with a bumper and a shatter safe screen for added durability. The internet operates on a safe web browser made for kids alone. This web browser blocks access from inappropriate content.
So, by connecting to a WiFi network only, your kids can be connected to you as long as you want them to be. This is an excellent device you can give your children. They can only use the phone at home while you keep monitoring even from wherever your location may be at that time.
For the parent who knows their child will have access to WiFi and does not want to add another cell phone bill to their budget each month, this phone could be a great solution.
TickTalk 3 is a good device that deserves consideration for children’s use. Of course, it is a smartwatch, but it functions as a phone too. Since most parents reading this article are searching for a phone with limited features to protect their kids from the dangers of the internet, I could not resist the need to suggest smartwatches as an option.
Considering that many schools don’t allow kids to have their phones during the day, this could be a great choice for the parent who wants the option of unrestricted communication with their kids.
With TickTalk 3, you can set the firewall so that only existing contacts can call through. You can send and receive text messages with your kids. It has a preset messages feature that allows you to load messages for later use like “I’ll call you later” or “just arrived”.
Its GPS feature lets you check the location of your child. Its SOS feature lets the user call 911 for help instantly.
There’s more than safety and security to this device. It comes preloaded with many of the features that are great for kids and parents. Its Do Not Disturb Mode stops all calls, messages, and alerts coming in if the child is in class. Its dialing pad can be turned on for or through the app. When it’s on, kids can dial any number to make a call. It also has a to-do reminder as well.
The watch is durable and built to be waterproof. It allows for replaceable watch bands for easy customization.
Nokia 3310 3G
This classic phone offers everything your child will need to stay connected. If you think the design looks familiar you’re right, this phone was popular during the 1990’s and 2000’s. Although the smartphone has taken its place atop the proverbial food chain, this phone certainly has a place in the pecking order.
The phone is customizable, affordable, and has many of the features smartphones offer, including a camera. It even offers access to Twitter and Facebook for those parents who want to give their kids a little more freedom. It’s got a headphone jack for music and is available in both single SIM and dual SIM.
Its user interface is customizable so your kids can set up the home screen that they want to see. Bluetooth is built on to pair with speakers and other devices. There is also a 128MB MicroSD card available for storage.
This classic look phone is sold in four colors.
Jitterbug Easy-to-Use Cell Phone
The Jitterbug is marketed as a product designed for the elderly, but it’s useful for kids too. It is now available as a flip phone or as a smartphone, giving you the option to decide the level of functionality your child has. Staying true to its origins, it offers large buttons which makes the phone easy to navigate. Its camera is excellent and the battery offers long life.
This phone could be a good gateway for your child to get used to having a hi-tech phone if you are open to the possibility of giving them access to the internet. As is it not specifically designed for kids, you are not going to get the same parent controls with this product that you do with some of the others on this list.
Apple Watch Series 4
The Apple Watch is a great choice for parents who want to give their child the freedom to access the internet, but don’t want them to have their heads in a screen all the time. This watch has impressive built-in features that remind the user just how powerful a watch can be.
The display on this watch is larger than previous generations, allowing for easier use. Its improved power allows the user to use the watch all day on one charge.
The Apple Watch’s many features are world-class. It can provide notifications for low heart rate, high heart rate, and abnormal rhythm. It is designed with health in mind and built to help the user track and protect their health. Its workout features also support pacing and the user’s preferred methods of training.
Of course, this watch also serves as a phone, allows for texting, streams music and podcasts. Siri provides support to make this device even more versatile.
Monqi Smartphone Software
The IMO S2 with monqi is designed to be a chid’s first mobile phone. The creators recognized the reality that young people are getting phones and created a phone that gives parents the power to manage what they are exposed to.
The phone’s software features an “activities and illicit content alert” so the parent is notified if the child is trying to access illicit content. Parents can also view their online activity remotely, so they know what their child is looking at when needed.
Parents can set limits on data, calls, and screen time. All of this is controlled remotely through the app. Further, your child cannot contact someone or be contacted by them unless you approve it first. You can review and approve apps they download, block contacts, and even lock their phone remotely.
The phone and service is available in 48 countries, but not the US.
Google Pixel 3a
The Google Pixel 3a is an affordable fully capable smartphone. This phone would be a good choice for parents who want to give their kids complete access to smartphone features and are looking for a great value.
It offers the storage of photos in google photos, a battery designed to last all day, quick charging, and easy access to google assistant.
This rugged phone is great for kids who may not take care of their phone as well as you would like. Its large display is plenty to take pictures and text.
It offers a 5″ display for ease of use and is waterproof up to 2 meters for 1 hour. It is also shock and drop proof up to 6.5 feet.
It is a fully functional smartphone. For the parent who wants to buy a product that will stand up to heavy use, this is could be your choice!
Samsung Galaxy A9
This is a fully functional smartphone that offers value when compared to premium smartphones. It is the first phone to feature a quad lens camera. It also has a 6.3-inch display and Dolby surround sound. For parents who want their child to have access to the internet, this phone may be a good choice.
Why These Phones?
I chose these phones because they offer a wide array of functionality and durability. Parents mean different things when they are searching for emergency cell phones for kids. Each item on this list should give you a sense of the product segments out there, so you can carry on your research in an informed manner.
Some will want their child to have minimum functionality and are only concerned with parent to child communication. Others will want limited functionality as a way to grant their child some freedom.
There will also be the parents out there who are not concerned with limiting functionality and are really just looking for value in a device so they can maintain contact with their children in case of an emergency.
Wherever you fall on this spectrum, this list gives you the range of products out there today to meet your needs. Using the examples on this list to get started, you should have no problem finding an emergency cell phone for your kids.