So your child is finally ready for their first phone, leaving you wondering how they grow up so fast – and what the best SIM deal for an eleven-year-old is anyway!
Whether you're buying a SIM for a child or teen, the number of providers and plans to choose from can make the whole decision a daunting task. Apart from pricing, there are a few things to think of before signing the dotted lines, like parental controls, social media usage and family discounts – all of which we'll dive into here and more.
So without further ado, here are the best deals on child-friendly SIMs, along with what to look out for when shopping for a child-friendly SIM.
Best cheap SIM plans for kids with (some) data
iD Mobile currently has the lowest rate in the UK for 10GB of data for £8 per month. The plans last for a month at a time and also include data rollover so any unused data carries over into the next month.
GiffGaff is another provider that offers low-cost data plans, which it calls "goodybags". Its cheapest goodybag starts at £6 per month for 500MB, while it's best value plan, called the "golden goodybag", offers 9GB of data for £10. See other Giffgaff plans.
Smarty is another provider to consider. You can pick up 30GB of data for £10 which offers better value than iD with three times more data, but is slightly more expensive. Smarty has smaller data packages too, and like ID, its plans last 30 days, giving you the flexibility to end service whenever you want.
Best kids SIM-Only plan for streaming
There’s no doubt your child will want to watch content while on their phones – a lot of it. Thankfully, some network providers bundle streaming services with their contract plans.
O2 plans include Disney+ for six months, which is sure to keep your child happy. Its cheapest plan offers 5GB for £10/month for 18 months.
Three’s Go Binge feature on plans with 12GB data or more, allows endless social media use without eating into the data limit. Three's best offer is on the 24-month plan which offers 12GB for £14 per month. Go Binge offers unlimited access to Snapchat, Netflix, Apple Music, SoundCloud, Deezer and TV Player.
Best kids SIM plan for social media
For lower data limit, there’s Voxi’s 6GB plan for £10 per month which is its cheapest. Voxi plans include unlimited access to social media to apps like Facebook, Whatsapp, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Messenger. This doesn’t include voice and video calls however.
Best cashback SIM deal - Cheap data plans with high data allowance
If you don’t mind cashback, the best SIM deal for unlimited data right now is with Vodafone for £14.50 per month, available from Mobiles.co.uk. You’ll just need to claim every few months by sending your bill to Mobiles through the online account. Here’s how:
(Psst! We've also rounded up the best kids phones if you're still not sure on what handset is the most child-friendly.)
Family SIM plans and discounts
Don’t forget, if you’re already on O2 you can also qualify for a family discount while also consolidating yours and your child’s bill into one. You can add up to 20 connections on a Family plan with O2 and get up to 40% off from your fifth connection and onwards.
In fact, most major providers offer family plans to existing customers, so it's worth checking if your current provider has any Family SIM deal programs in place.
Parental controls on SIM
All major phone networks in the UK such as EE, O2, Three and Vodafone automatically block 18+ content – though this is via the data connection and not Wi-Fi.
Additionally software like Qustodio and Net Nanny are some of the best parental control software that filter out inappropriate content to keep your kids safe online, while also offering tools to monitor and limit your children’s device and net use.
Data capping or not?
Most often SIM plans will automatically stop service once you've reached the limit, or text you when you've used up a sizeable portion.
Parents, however, might still want to consider data or usage capping features when buying a SIM for a child. You might be prompted to sign up for this option when you buy the SIM from the network provider. This helps limit charges that are out of contract such as picture messaging, long distance calls or additional data usage.
You can choose to set a £0 cap, which means your child won't be allowed any additional spending outside the plan's limits. Alternatively, you can set a budget beyond the base value of the plan if you want flexibility. This might be a helpful safety net for your child if they need additional minutes or texts to reach you. O2 for instance, allows a spending cap up to £200.
When is Black Friday 2020 - should you wait for a better deal?
Black Friday will take place on Friday 27 November, immediately followed by Cyber Monday on 30 November. Traditionally the biggest sales event of the year, it may yet throw up some even greater tech deals - but with so much uncertainty around finance and retail, and no guarantees regarding what discounts we will see, we advise you not to wait: if you see a deal you like, on a product you need, and you can afford the outlay, buy it today.