Best First Mobile Phone for 11 Year Old

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Brad Bartlett


Starter phone

Having a mobile phone seems to be priority number one for today’s kids.

Unfortunately, deciding the best first mobile phone for an 11 year old is extremely difficult.

Parents struggle to know how best to approach mobile phones for kids. 

On the one hand, the benefits of owning a phone can be great for an 11-year-old kid. On the other, there are many dangers and responsibilities that come with having a phone.

Parents can never be too cautious when it comes to kids and mobile phones. Yet, even if your primary concern is safety, there are many other benefits to having a phone.

There are lots of things to consider before deciding on the best first mobile phone for an 11-year-old kid, including their 

  • Age and knowledge of technology
  • Maturity level
  • The need for speed (internet access)
  • Your budget

If you are a parent looking to purchase the first mobile phone for your 11 year old, this guide is for you.

In this guide to buying the best first mobile phone for 11 year olds, we will go over the pros and cons of buying a mobile phone for an 11-year-old. We will also discuss the different types of phones on the market and offer parents tips to navigate this tricky purchase decision.

Why Buy a First Mobile Phone for an 11 Year Old?

It is common these days to see parents and kids alike carrying around mobile phones. It seems like everyone has a phone, including pre-teens. With phones so readily available, the temptation to give your kid their own phone can be compelling.

Mobile phones are great tools because they help keep kids safe, organized, and even teach them responsibility.

Why Should I Get My 11 Year Old a Phone?

A phone can be a kid’s best friend. It is a source of entertainment, but it also provides safety and helps them stay connected to their parents or guardians. A mobile phone would make your child feel like they are an adult with responsibilities like the big kids.

If you decide to get your 11-year-old kid a phone, you will also gain benefits. It is much easier to have a phone instead of spending time waiting for your kid outside of school or at their sport’s practice. Here are some of the benefits of having a phone for your kid.

1. Helps Keep Kids Safe

The easiest and best reason to buy a mobile phone for an 11-year-old kid is safety. Kids face many dangers these days, and having a mobile phone can help protect them. Kids should know how to use their phones in case of emergencies while they’re out on their own.

2. Helps Keep Kids Organized

Mobile phones can also help kids stay on top of their school work. Parents can download apps that keep track of homework assignments, class schedules, and deadlines. Kids won’t miss out on important information if they always have their phones with them.

3. Teaches Responsibility

Parents worry about kids having mobile phones because they see it as a challenging responsibility. In reality, a mobile phone can teach kids responsibility as they become more independent. If your kid takes care of their phone and uses it properly, then you know that you can trust them with other responsibilities too.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Mobile Phone for an 11 Year Old

When you’re thinking about the best first mobile phone for an 11 year old, there are many factors to take into consideration. 

However, it’s essential to know the pros and cons of buying a mobile phone for your kid and how those benefits and drawbacks might vary depending on the type of phone you get for your 11 year old.

The pros and cons of buying a mobile phone for an 11-year-old are different depending on whether you’re looking at smartphones or more basic phones. Your kid’s age also needs to be taken into account when deciding between these two types of phones.

Pros and Cons of Smartphones for 11 Year Olds

The pros of buying a smartphone for your 11 year old include all the benefits that come with having a mobile phone in general. 

With smartphones, kids can also access the internet, play games, download apps, and send messages to their friends. But this greater technology can increase the risks.

Smartphones are high on the list of pros because they offer so much to your child, but there are some downsides too.

Since smartphones have internet access and downloadable apps, you might worry about kids being exposed to inappropriate content or things that can be dangerous for them.

Plus, mobile phones can cost a lot of money, and you might not want to buy a smartphone if your kid is still too young for that level of responsibility.

When it comes to buying a first mobile phone for an 11-year-old kid, parents will need to decide carefully whether going with a smartphone is best for their child.

What Types of Phones are Available for 11 Year Olds?

There are many different types of mobile phones available on the market today. Some are designed specifically for kids, while others aren’t. Before buying a phone for an 11 year old, parents will need to decide what type of phone is best for their child given their age and needs.

There are two main types of phones that are designed for children. The first type is a youngster mobile phone that is rugged and durable, while the second is a simpler model without all the bells and whistles.

Basic Kid’s Mobile Phones

If you’re thinking about buying a mobile phone for your 11 year old kid, then you should consider getting them a phone that’s specifically designed for children.

There are many reasons why you might want to buy your child a kid’s mobile phone instead of an adult model. 

While these types of phones don’t come with as many features as smartphones, they can still do everything kids need to do, like making and receiving calls and texts, taking pictures, playing games, and more.

These types of phones can also be helpful for parents because you don’t need to worry about kids accidentally making expensive calls or downloading apps that could cost a lot. 

Plus, kids’ mobile phones are designed to withstand falls and being dropped in water, so they’re less likely to break if your child happens to drop it while out and about.

Simpler Mobile Phones for Kids

While plenty of kid-friendly phone tech is on the market, sometimes your child is ready to make and take calls effectively. 

In many ways, these types of mobile phones for kids are similar to the ones that adults use because they’ve been made with features that specifically appeal to children.

Simpler mobile phones can be great because they allow your kid to keep in touch with you and their friends but don’t come with all the bells and whistles of a smartphone. 

These types of phones are good for older kids who need a basic phone to make and receive calls and texts but who aren’t ready for smartphones yet.

Smartphones for Kids

Smartphones can be expensive and difficult for kids to handle (and expensive!). One alternative might be buying your child a smartphone that has parental controls on it. 

These types of devices allow you to set limits on how much they can use the phone, who they can contact, and more.

This type of phone is ideal for older children (like an 11 year old) because it gives them a bit of freedom while still allowing parents to monitor everything that they do on their phone.

What Features to Consider When Buying a First Mobile Phone for an 11 Year Old

When you’re thinking about buying a mobile phone for your child, there are many different factors that you’ll need to consider.

1. Price

You’ll need to determine how much you’re willing to spend on your child’s first mobile phone. This will vary from person to person, depending on your budget and whether or not you plan to buy a simple or kid-friendly phone and the types of features that it comes with.

2. Age

Your child’s age will also play a role in the type of phone that you buy them. Younger children may not need all the features that come with smartphones, so it might be best to get them something basic instead.

3. Texting

Do they need a phone for texting? 

If you’re buying your child their first mobile phone, then chances are they don’t have a lot of friends with mobile phones yet. It might be best to get them something that they can use to chat with their friends via text, especially if you feel like they’re ready for it at this age.

4. Calling

One of the most common reasons that parents give their children phones is to have the ability to reach them at a moment’s notice. This feature is standard with all phones, though some offer cellular calls while others utilize WiFi – potentially saving you money.

5. Other Features

Does your child need a phone with other features like a camera? While these types of phones are typically more expensive, they can also be very useful for parents because it allows them to give their kids some independence while still keeping tabs on what they’re doing.

6. Cellular vs. Wi-Fi

If your child needs a phone capable of making calls, you’ll need to decide whether or not they should have a phone that uses cellular data or Wi-Fi. Cellular service is more expensive, but it allows your child to make calls while they’re away from home whereas Wi-Fi only works when they are near the network.

Best First Mobile Phone for an 11 Year – Buyer’s Guide

Are you ready to buy your child their first mobile phone? In this list, we will break down today’s top picks for the best first mobile phone for an 11 year old.

Best Overall Phone: iPhone SE

The iPhone has a significant presence in the U.S. smartphone market, and many schools integrate iPads into their curriculums. This makes the Apple ecosystem familiar terrain for both parents and kids. The iPhone SE leverages this familiarity, offering an operating system that most families are already comfortable navigating.

A Budget-Friendly Apple Experience

Priced at $429 from Apple—though often available at discounted rates through carriers and other retailers—the iPhone SE provides many of the perks of an iPhone without the high-end price tag. It may lack the latest bells and whistles like Face ID or a top-of-the-line camera, but it does fully integrate with Apple’s software ecosystem.

Balanced Features for Growing Minds

Children can stay connected through iMessage groups and FaceTime calls, not to mention having access to a host of educational apps from the App Store. For parents concerned about screen time and safety, the iPhone SE offers ScreenTime controls and the Find My device tracking features.

Why the iPhone SE is the Best Choice for Parents and Kids

The iPhone SE offers a balanced package that caters to the needs of both parents and children. Its operating system is one that most families will already be familiar with, and it offers a suite of features that make communication easy and educational.

If you’re looking for a well-rounded phone that will meet the diverse needs of your 11-year-old while still offering the comforts of a familiar interface, the iPhone SE should be your go-to choice.

Best Value Phone: Palm Phone

The Palm Phone steals the spotlight when it comes to the best value phone for kids, and one of the most notable things about it is its petite size. In a world where phones are getting larger and bulkier, the Palm Phone is a refreshing change.

It’s about the size of a credit card, making it perfect for the smaller hands of your 11-year-old. It’s easier to grip, easier to pocket, and less likely to be dropped compared to its much larger counterparts.

Functionality Doesn’t Take a Backseat

Even though the phone is small, it doesn’t skimp on essential features. It comes with a front and back camera for capturing those spontaneous moments. It runs on the Android operating system, which gives parents the flexibility to allow access to various apps, if they deem it appropriate.

Affordable Without Sacrificing Quality

One of the major pluses of the Palm Phone is its price point. Retailing for around $200, it is much more affordable than most top-of-the-line mobile phones, without compromising on functionality. Its affordable cost makes it less of an expense in case the phone does get misplaced or damaged, which is always a possibility.

Why Parents Should Consider the Palm Phone

The Palm Phone strikes an excellent balance between affordability and functionality. Its small size makes it a practical choice for 11-year-olds, while its feature set ensures they’re not missing out on essential functionalities.

The cost-effective cellular plan and robust parental controls provide parents with peace of mind. If you’re in the market for a budget-friendly, functional, and kid-friendly phone, then the Palm Phone is a value-packed option that deserves your consideration.

Best Starter Phone: Gabb Phone

The Gabb Phone is designed with a limited digital experience in mind. Unlike typical smartphones, it doesn’t come with a web browser, app store, or any social media options.

This restricted environment makes it a fantastic starter smartphone that allows for basic connectivity between kids and parents, minus the distractions and risks associated with unrestricted internet access.

Basic Features for Basic Needs

While the Gabb Phone may be limited in some aspects, it doesn’t compromise on essentials. It comes with front and rear cameras for capturing memories. Even more importantly, it features GPS, enabling parents to track the phone’s location for added peace of mind.

Ideal for First-Time Phone Users

While the Gabb Phone might not appeal to older kids who desire more advanced features, it’s perfect for 11-year-olds who are first-time phone users.

In this context, the phone’s limitations might actually feel like immense freedom, allowing them to communicate with friends and family without getting lost in the rabbit hole of endless apps and internet browsing.

Why Parents Should Consider the Gabb Phone

The Gabb Phone is an excellent stepping stone for young children transitioning into the world of mobile devices. Its limited features protect them from the overwhelming and sometimes risky aspects of the digital world, while still granting them a degree of independence.

The phone’s affordability, along with expert recommendations for its suitability for kids who are still learning about screen time management, make it a compelling choice for parents.

​​Best Android Phone: Google Pixel 6a

The Google Pixel 6a comes with an always-on OLED display, offering crisp visuals that rival more expensive models, yet it stays well below the $500 mark. Currently, you can grab this phone for around $320, making it an excellent value choice for families.

Built for Longevity and Durability

What sets the Google Pixel 6a apart from other budget phones are its practical features, such as a potential 24-hour battery life. The Extreme Battery Saver mode even extends it to an impressive 72 hours.

The phone’s IP67 rating means it’s fully sealed against dust and can handle water submersion up to approximately 3 feet—great for accidental spills or puddle mishaps. Google also promises five years of Pixel updates, ensuring the device stays current and secure.

Parental Peace of Mind

For parents looking to manage their child’s screen time, app usage, and location data, Google’s Family Link provides a seamless solution. It’s naturally integrated with the phone and offers an extensive set of controls to maintain a balanced digital experience for your child.

Why the Google Pixel 6a is the Top Android Choice for Families

The Google Pixel 6a brings together high-quality features and robust parental controls, all wrapped up in a budget-friendly package. Its durability and long-lasting battery make it ideal for busy families always on the go, while its up-to-date Android operating system ensures compatibility with educational apps and games.

If you’re an Android family or just looking for a robust, budget-friendly phone with plenty of practical features for your 11-year-old, the Google Pixel 6a should be at the top of your list.

Best Flip Phone: Nokia 2780

The Nokia 2780 is an unlocked flip phone, which means it’s compatible with nearly any carrier network. This gives parents the flexibility to choose a carrier that best suits their needs and budget.

Limited by Design

Like a smartwatch, the Nokia 2780 provides direct access to call a child but purposely limits most other digital activities. It doesn’t support social media apps or other distracting features, making it a device focused on communication.

If your plan includes data, the phone does have access to basic web browsing and email, though these features aren’t optimized for a great user experience.

A Device for Direct Communication

The Nokia 2780 shines as a well-reviewed calling device. It is built to do one thing and do it well: make and receive calls. If the primary reason you want your 11-year-old to have a phone is to keep in touch when apart, this device excels at that.

Why Parents Should Consider the Nokia 2780

A flip phone may not be for every child, but for those who just need a basic device for direct communication with parents, it’s an excellent option. It removes many of the digital distractions that come with fully-featured smartphones and allows kids to focus on the real world around them, making it an ideal choice for parents concerned about screen time and internet safety.

What is the Best First Phone for a Kid?

When it comes to kids and phones, there are pros and cons to everything.

If your child is begging you for a phone, one of the best ways to introduce them to smartphone technology is to buy them a starter phone. The list above is a great way to go to introduce them to the world of phones.

Kids want phones, but not all parents are ready for the responsibility of getting their kids phones at such a young age. However, you can ensure you’re getting your child the best first phone for them with the right tips. 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when it comes to buying a phone for your 11 year old:

Know what capabilities you want in a phone.

Before going into the store, know what features and functions you want from a phone. You can do this by researching phones on your own or by asking friends and family what they recommend.

Understand how much the phone will cost you (to buy and replace).

There are many factors to keep in mind if you want to stay within budget. From the cost of the phone to monthly fees (if any), know what your options are before walking into a store.

Know how old your child is and their ability to use a phone.

Research the recommended age for each particular phone. Some phones are made for older kids, while others are made with a younger audience in mind.

Choose a plan that works best for you and your child.

Some kids phone plans have extra benefits that parents will appreciate, such as parental controls or additional safety features. There are also family plans that offer discounts when multiple people are sharing one phone.


There are a lot of things to consider when buying a phone for your 11 year old. From the cost to the safety features, and more. 

The last thing you want is to get stuck with a phone that isn’t going to work well with your child’s needs – because once they have a phone, there is no going back!

With the right research and planning, you can find the perfect phone for your child that will ensure they are getting to experience smartphone technology, but not overwhelmed by it.