Buying a phone

Smartphone versus Basic phones

Mobile phones are useful, powerful, and helpful. However, the highly addictive quality of smartphones is an ever present danger.   Yet, your child is the “only” person who does not have a phone. A cell phone is a cell phone–meant to be used for communication, it is whether or not you want the “extras” on your phone. Either way, as a parent, we are still accountable as to what your child does with their new cell phone.  Here are some considerations for what type of phone may be best for yourself and/or your child when purchasing a cell phone. 

Basic Phones:

  • Price! The phones are cheaper, as well as the plans which start as little as $5/ month, with minimal cost to upgrade with in a contract
  • Battery. Longer battery life, as you are not surfing the web or having multiple apps open
  • Durability. More durable in regards to being dropped or exposed to moisture
  • Simplicity.  Basic phones are usually quite user friendly
  • Size. Basic phones are considerably smaller than smartphones
  • Privacy & Security. Older basic phones do not have the ability to access the internet, therefore decreasing the amount of personal information on the web.  Please note: New basic phones have the potential to access the internet & certain apps–please talk with your salesperson when purchasing a basic phone
  • Less Addictive.  Much easier to break away from technology on a basic phone, less access to pornography, cyber bullying, and developing poor media habits.
  • Easier to monitor basic phones with fewer apps, limited internet abilities, etc.
  • In emergencies, it’s easier to call “911” with buttons than with a touchscreen


  • Increased user efficiency. Especially important for most business oriented persons, acting as a “small” computer
  • Camera.  Most smartphones have high quality cameras with editing capabilities.
  • Staying connected more easily with family and friends
  • Ease of access to emails and messaging
  • GPS/location ability
  • Abundant apps to make to-do lists easier & staying organized (i.e. banking, ordering groceries, prescription refills, comparison pricing, etc)
  • Parental controls: Can disable or limit built in apps (such as internet, voice recognition, ability to download new apps, etc) and lock these settings with a passcode.
  • Can utilize accountability software to track all text messages and phone activity
  • Entertainment features
  • Education tools for students & teachers

Cell phones have many benefits for everyday life.  There can be negative effects on either cell phone of choice. Utilizing an appropriate filter with accountability and time controls can decrease the negative aspects of smartphones.

Sourced from Siouxland MMC:

Android versus Apple

This article is meant to give a recommendation for choosing a device that allows the safest environment for children.  It is meant to compare an Apple iOS device with a Google Android device.

Through the research process I have developed the opinion that the Google Android may offer more control of features and points of concern to a parent.  The downside will be that it requires some technical ability and determination. If you want to allow more popular apps and websites while being able to control more features inside of them, Google Android may be the safest decision.  

Apple devices may allow for an easier setup / configuration and afford as safe of an environment without the granular control.  With Apple you will want to spend some time to understand the final results of what the built in features provide. Apple’s downfall is that they don’t offer as much control or monitoring built in if you give access to some of the popular apps and websites.  This is where the additional parental control software is needed to regain some of that control.

While looking at information to create a recommendation I ran across a parental control program that stated their software on an Android device has more features than their software on an Apple device.(1)   The following statement was theirs.   Why? “Apple’s iOS offers parents LOTS of options to add other customized controls to ensure kids and younger teens stay safe online and while using apps.”  The second link below (2) is to an article that explains things as good as anywhere I’ve looked. It has a comparison of of features available and a better explanation of the Apple integrated features.  The third link (3) goes into more detail on various features and points of concern controllable by some of the parental control programs.

My recommendation: Apple, its an easier way to get to a safe environment.  As more apps and websites are allowed it becomes more of a maturity / observational issue.  You may want to consider Google Android if you have concerns.


Sourced from Siouxland MMC: