Best Phone Plans for Kids

There’s a plan for your lil ones whether you’re concerned about safety, cost, or both.

Best Value
Mint Mobile
Unlimited Data Plan
4 out of 5 stars
4
1 line for
$30
/mo
  • pro
    Unlimited talk, text, and data
  • con
    No parental controls
Best Parental Controls
Verizon
Verizon Smart Family app
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
2 lines for
$110
/mo
  • pro
    Robust parental controls
  • con
    On the pricey side
Cheapest Unlimited Plan
Visible
Visible
4 out of 5 stars
4
1 line for
$25
/mo
  • pro
    Unlimited talk, text, and data
  • con
    Possible data deprioritization
Best Low-Data Plan
US Mobile
10GB Plan with Unlimited Talk and Text
4 out of 5 stars
4
1 line for
$15
/mo
  • pro
    Super cheap talk and text plan
  • con
    No parental controls
Easton Smith
Mar 19, 2024
Icon Time To Read7 min read

Your kid has probably been begging for a cell phone since they learned how to talk (“everyone else at school has one!”). But maybe now it’s time to give in. Having a phone can help your child connect with friends, arrange rides, and stay safe while they’re out of the house.

But you can buy your kids a phone plan on your own terms. There are plans for parents who want to save money, and other plans for parents who want to limit what their little ones do on their devices. We’ve got all the details here.

Mint Mobile: Best value

Mint Mobile’s affordable Unlimited Data Plan gives your kids plenty of minutes, texts, and data.
Pros
  • Unlimited talk and text
  • Unlimited data
  • Uses T-Mobile's reliable nationwide network
Cons
  • No parental controls

What we like

Your kids want the coolest (most expensive) new gadgets and services. And you want to save some money for their college fund, or maybe for some gadgets of your own. Well, here’s a compromise: Mint Mobile’s Unlimited Data Plan.

We know what you're thinking: Aren't unlimited plans expensive? Not this one. It's one of the cheapest unlimited data plans available right now.

Unlimited data

So what exactly is unlimited data? It depends on how philosophical you want to get (what is anything, really?), but essentially it’s enough mobile data to stream a short movie, enjoy some Spotify study music, or, you know, check on coursework.

So, your kid can stream 10 hours of Power Rangers Ninja Steel on Netflix. Or they can play about 100 hours of Fortnite (which sounds like a lot, but parents out there know it’s possible).

And hopefully, your kiddo will choose to put that unlimited data to good use while studying too.

Reliable network

Mint Mobile is an MVNO, which means that it piggybacks off another company’s network. In this case, that other company is T-Mobile.

While T-Mobile isn’t the biggest or fastest network in the country, it does offer great coverage in most metropolitan areas. 

Looking for other ways to keep your kids entertained at home?
Light Bulb

Cell phones will help your kids stay busy at home, but nothing beats great, family-friendly television. Here’s a roundup of the best streaming services for kids.

Affordable

Here's a good rule to live by: your kids’ cell phone plans shouldn’t cost more than your own. Mint Mobile’s Unlimited Data Plan clocks in at just $30 a month, which makes it significantly cheaper than pretty much any unlimited data plan out there.

This cheap price tag is one of the reasons that Mint's unlimited plans tops our list of the best cell phone plans.

What we don't like

We know that your darling little angel of a child is perfect. But, unfortunately, no kid’s cell phone plan is as perfect as they are. Here are a couple of the potential flaws of Mint’s Unlimited Data Plan.

No parental controls

If your offspring has a penchant for naughty behavior, you might want a plan that lets you control how much your kid uses their phone, and what kind of activities they use it for. Unfortunately, Mint doesn’t have great parental control tools.

But check out Verizon Smart Family below, which is designed to help you control how your kids use their phones. (Or check out third-party parental control apps that you can install on your kid’s smartphone.)

Alternative picks

Like the idea of Mint Mobile, but don’t like Ryan Reynolds (who is a part owner of the company)? Check out these similar plans from other carriers.

Verizon Wireless: Best for parental controls

Keep track of what your kids are doing with all those messages and data.
Pros
  • Parental controls
  • Unlimited talk and text unlimited data
  • Verizon’s network
Cons
  • Must already have a Verizon unlimited plan
  • Pricier

What we like

If you’re already a Verizon customer, or you’re just ready to hop on the nation’s best network, then the Verizon Smart Family app is a great option for parents who want to give their kids a phone while avoiding potential safety risks. Here’s a look at everything we love about Verizon's Smart Family app.

Parental controls

Verizon offers two tiers of Verizon Smart Family membership.

With Verizon Smart Family ($4.99/month), you can do all of the following:

  • Control screen time
  • View texts and calls

With Smart Family Premium ($9.99/month), you can do all of the following:

  • Control screen time
  • View texts and calls
  • Choose your kid's contacts
  • Block inappropriate content
  • Reduce access to certain apps and manage screen time
  • Track the phone's location

Verizon’s Smart Family app allows you to easily control these settings and filters from your own phone. So you can stop wondering if your preteen is using up all of that mobile data doing something inappropriate and just worry about their strange fashion choices instead.

Speaking of parental controls . . .
Pin

If you really want to keep track of what your kids (or their babysitter) is doing, then you might want to check out these great nanny cams.

Add Verizon Smart Family to any plan

You can add Verizon Smart Family to any Verizon plan. Verizon's entry-level plan, Unlimited Welcome, offers unlimited talk, text, and data. So while they can technically game, stream, and Instagram their little hearts out, you still have control over their total screen time—and the apps they can use. 

Smart Family can also be added to a Verizon prepaid plan if you don't care about unlimited data. You'll spend less and still be able to monitor your kiddo's phone usage.

Verizon's network

We’ve talked plenty about how powerful Verizon’s network is, but a visual may really help drive the message home. Here’s a look at Verizon’s coverage map.

What we don't like

Verizon Smart Family is definitely among the best parental control apps for kids, but, as they say, “every path has its puddle.” Let’s wade through the not-so-great stuff.

Must already have Verizon plan

The biggest roadblock to getting the Verizon Smart Familly app is that you (or some other adult in your family) must already have a plan with Verizon. If you already do, then good on you!

If not, here’s a look at the options.

The silver lining of all this is that Verizon’s plans are pretty great.

A bit pricey

The Verizon Smart Family app follows the usual formula for Verizon: it’s great, and it’s pricey. While $4.99/month is a bit easier to stomach, $9.99/month for Smart Family Premium is a bit steep. Especially if you're adding an extra $10 for multiple children. It’s definitely going to cost you more than prepaid phones for kids from companies like Boost and Tello.

Alternative picks

If Smart Family sounds great, but you’re not ready to sign up for Verizon, then check out these other unlimited family plans.

Visible Wireless: Cheapest Unlimited Plan

Cheap unlimited plans for all the children!
Pros
  • Unlimited data
  • Blocks robocalls and risky spam
  • Verizon’s network
Cons
  • No parental controls
  • No family plans

What we like

We’ve been really impressed with Visible Wireless since the company appeared on the mobile scene a few years ago. It offers two simple and powerful plans with unlimited data.

So if you’re looking for a plan that covers all of your young whippersnappers, Visible is a great option. Here are some details on what we like the most.

Unlimited data

Saving money on your kids’ phone plan doesn’t have to mean skimping on data. In other words, phones for kids don’t have to feel like kids phones.

With both of Visible’s unlimited data plans, your kids can do all the things that the grownups do (for better or worse). They can stream, post, browse, game, email, and play PUBG Mobile (whatever that is) to their hearts’ content.

The difference between Visible's $25/month plan and its $45/month plan is the amount of priority data you get. The higher-tiered plan offers 50GB of high-speed data. With the $25 plan, you don't get any premium data, which means your data is subject to deprioritization in moments of high traffic.

Verizon’s network

Like Mint Mobile, Visible runs on another company’s network. Unlike Mint Mobile, Visible runs on Verizon’s network, which is generally considered to be the best in the nation.

That means your children won’t have any excuse not to call you, whether they’re staying at a friend's house or going off to college on the other side of the continent.

What we don't like

It’s no secret that we love Visible. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have our qualms, too (it’s our job, after all).

No parental controls

Visible Wireless isn’t specifically a phone plan for kids. That means your kids will have access to all of the amazing, horrible, and weird stuff that happens on smartphones. If that worries you, you might want to check out parental control apps.

No family plans

Visible Wireless only offers one-line plans. Fortunately, Visible plans are cheap enough that users won't need a multi-line discount. But it would be nice to be able to control your kids' lines from one account.

Alternative picks

Visible sounds great and all, but how does it compare to other plans? Here’s a gander at other cheap unlimited data plans with four lines.

US Mobile: Best low-data plan

US Mobile swaps special features and data for simplicity and affordability.
Pros
  • Very affordable
  • Unlimited talk and text
Cons
  • No parental controls

What we like

US Mobile is not one of the biggest or fanciest mobile carriers out there. But not everyone (especially not your 11-year-old kid) needs the best cell phone plan in the world. So, here’s a look at a “good enough” sort of plan for those who want to save some dough.

Very affordable

If you’re looking for a cheap plan for a single kid, you can get unlimited talk and text with 6GB of data for just $18 a month. That’s a pretty small price to pay to know that your kid can call you whenever they need a ride.

And if you prefer your kiddos not to have that much data but can still call if school lets out early, US Mobile has you covered there, too, with its 2GB Shared Data Plan, which costs $10 a month.

Unlimited talk and text

Your child won’t have to worry about running out of texts or minutes with this phone plan. That means they can gossip with their friends all weekend, and they’ll have no excuses for not texting or calling you back when they’re out and about!

What we don't like

It seems a bit rude to be nit-picky about a plan this cheap, but that’s our job. Here’s where US Mobile falls a bit short.

No parental controls

If you’re the type of parent who wants to know what’s happening on your kids’ cell phones, then this might not be the best plan. While you might be able to get phone-based apps to help control what’s happening on each individual phone, the plan itself doesn’t have parental controls built into it.

Alternative picks

If a cheap, low- or no-data cell phone plan sounds perfect for your kids, but US Mobile doesn’t seem right for whatever reason, there are other options. Here’s a peek at some similar plans from other carriers.

Recap

You’ve got kids, which means you probably don’t have a ton of free time to sit around and read reviews. So let’s cut to the chase. Here’s the short and sweet recap of the best cell phone plans for kids.

  • Best value: Mint Mobile's Unlimited Data Plan gets your kid unlimited talk and text, plus unlimited data for Tik Toking and gaming. All that will cost you just $30 a month.
  • Best parental controls: Verizon's Smart Family App gives you a bird' s-eye view of your children's phone habits, allowing you to manage contacts, block apps, turn on/off the internet, and track location.
  • Cheapest unlimited plan: The Visible Wireless $25 Plan gives you unlimited data on Verizon’s network. It’s such a good deal that you might want to get on Visible Wireless yourself. Just know this provider doesn't offer parental controls or multi-line accounts.
  • Best low-data plan: The US Mobile 6GB Shared Data plan doesn’t have any bells or whistles, but it is super cheap. Like $18-a-month cheap.

FAQ

Now that you know what cell phone plan you’re going to get for your kids, it’s time to figure out what phone is best for them. So what is the best phone for kids?

We like the Alcatel GO FLIP for those who want a cheap, durable, low-tech phone that will allow their kids to talk and text, but not waste their whole evening watching YouTube videos.

If you’re looking for something a little more high-tech, these are some cheaper (and in some cases free) smartphones that should work great for teens.

Easton Smith
Written by
Easton Smith
Easton has worked as a freelance writer and researcher for several years, reviewing health, lifestyle, and technology products. He has probably read more Terms of Use contracts than any human alive. When he’s not sitting in front of a computer, Easton spends his time camping, climbing, and volunteering with humanitarian aid organizations.

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