How to Choose Your Teen’s First Smartphone

Buying your teen’s first smartphone has become a rite of passage. For many parents, getting their teens their own phones is as stressful as seeing them get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Parents want their teens to be safe, but they also don’t want their children to go broke in the process. Fortunately, if you know what features you and your teen want in a smartphone, you can find a phone that will make both of you happy and help you sleep at night. Discover the following four features to look for when choosing your teen’s first smartphone.


Your teens aren’t known for sitting still. They’re running, skateboarding, and moving constantly. While a case is great for protection, some phones are more prone to cracks and breaks than others.

When you’re shopping for a phone, make sure you find a model that can withstand drops and dunks into liquid, such as the affordable Galaxy Note 7 smartphone on the T-Mobile network. Over the past few years, Samsung has worked to strengthen the shell of the phone’s casing and make the glass more durable. Not only do these features increase the overall quality, but the material also increases the phone’s durability. When paired with T-Mobile’s fastest 4G LTE nationwide network, this smartphone is one parents and teens can appreciate using.

Before you buy any phone, talk to your teens about phone care so that they know they’re not automatically getting a new device if they crack the screen. Your teens need to treat their phones with the same care they treat a car or pet. Also, if you have an accident-prone teen, consider investing in phone insurance to cover the cost of a replacement.


If your teen still manages to break a smartphone every few months, you might consider investing in a model that’s more affordable, or you might ask your teen to pay for the phone’s replacement. However, affordability goes beyond the hardware alone. Now that you’re adding new lines to your bill, you should look for discounts on payments.

For example, T-Mobile offers family plans that allow you to add a line for only $10 extra per month. If you’re trying to teach responsibility to your teens through their first smartphone, you can ask them to earn money around the house or neighborhood to cover the cost of their lines. These family plans can save you money while teaching them about responsibility.

Make sure your teens know exactly what they’re allowed to do with the phones. You should discuss in-app purchases and downloads so that you don’t get high data charges because your teens wanted to play Candy Crush.

Tracking Capabilities

As a parent, you might be inclined to choose a lower-tech model so that your teens can break or lose their phones without costs to you. While you’re saving money, you’re losing out on features you could use to ensure your teens’ safety. Both iPhone and Android phones have plenty of apps for parents that track their teens’ GPS locations and watch their driving habits. Other phones allow parents to set up danger zones that alert them when their children are somewhere they shouldn’t be.

While some people consider these apps invasive, the apps can save teens’ lives when they realize their parents have alerts set for them.

Long-Term Use

Think about how long your teen is going to use this phone. Is your son or daughter going to take the phone to college? Will your teen be using the phone to manage classes, homework, and group projects? If so, then you might want to invest in a phone that can accommodate future use. While some of these phones — particularly the hybrid phone and tablet, or “phablet” — might cost more money, they will have a higher value in the long run if your teen uses it for five years instead of ditching it after two.

Buying your teen a smartphone isn’t a bad idea. Teens can prove their maturity to use the devices properly, and you’re able to reach them if they get into trouble. As long as you’re smart about the purchase, a smartphone should help out both of you over the next several years.

Written By
Sydney White is a Texas-born stay at home mom who enjoys spending time with her family, bargain hunting and, of course, writing. She is currently the editor-in-chief of

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