Feature phone for kids

I am wondering what kind of dumb phone (feature phone? I dislike the term ‘dumb phone’ lol) to have around for my kids to take with them as needed. Right now I have a second SIM in an old iPhone 7 with many functions disabled and the camera broken. I still do not prefer them to be in the habit of using a smartphone. Sometimes they just like to do things on the screen because of how captivating it is.
I had previously ordered a Pure for them to use but ended up returning as I need the phone to be more reliable in situations where they were sent with a phone. So just wondering if anyone else here have some experience with this.


My son has a nokia 105, hes 9 years old. Its ugly looking and he has zero attachment to it lol


Thanks for sharing and I definitely like the zero attachment thing. I’m looking at one now, just checking to see what would be compatible with my service. My older two are 12 and 8. They have never seen a non smartphone till the Pure (and they find the buttons a lot of fun lol). I wonder if/how much they would mind receiving calls on something like a Nokia among their peers.


If you live in the USA, then I recommend that you visit https://www.sunbeamwireless.com/. All three of their phones are based on Android but contain no Google apps, which is great news for those who care about privacy. Sunbeam calls its version of Android “BasicOS”.


Interestingly, the Sunbeam SAR is lower than most Nokia feature phones.


It’s great that you’re considering a feature phone for your kids as an alternative to smartphones. Feature phones can provide a simple and reliable communication device without the distractions of a full-featured smartphone. When choosing a feature phone for your kids, look for ones with sturdy build quality, long battery life, and essential features like calling, messaging, and maybe some basic games. Reading customer reviews and comparing different models can help you find a reliable option that suits your needs. Good luck with your search for the perfect feature phone for your kids!


@adamgwarek @urszula check this out.

@roberto, thanks for sharing this link. As a mother of a teenager, I must admit I’m facing quite a challenge with this issue. My son openly told me that times have changed, and if I were to take away his smartphone, it would mean subjecting him to social exclusion. He fully understands that a phone is a phone, not a mini-console (in its original purpose), but we have to acknowledge that times have evolved, and our nostalgia for what was doesn’t align with the spirit of the times and the needs of the new generation. I’ll add that my son doesn’t use social media (like Instagram or TikTok); he uses his phone for gaming and watching YouTube. I believe we have to remember and respect that our kids don’t experience the world as we do. I’m curious about your opinions…

Is it possible to find a compromise? :slight_smile:

PS: I would like to clarify: my point is that as adults, we can come up with what we consider the best solutions, but for them to be effective, it would be necessary to investigate the needs of the group for which we are designing these solutions, believing they are the best. Are they truly the best? Shouldn’t we take into account the needs and the reality in which our children live?


@roberto too late :frowning: My kiddo is 14…:))


@roberto I wrote about a similar study, which came out of Poland. They have very similar findings



It’s sad to see, but most parents use digital technology as a baby sitter.


Screens can occupy kids and give parents much needed breaks.

That said, it is frightening how kids zone out in front of screens.


Only for children? :slight_smile: I believe that we all here are aware of the risks and negative consequences associated with the overuse of technology by children and adolescents.

I have a perhaps slightly crazy idea… What if we tried to envision the “BEST PHONE FOR KIDS”?

What features should such a phone have?

Should a phone for an 8-year-old be the same as one for a 14-year-old?

Whose needs should this phone meet - parents or children?

What are those needs?

These are, of course, illustrative questions :slight_smile: As the mother of a teenager, I’m incredibly curious about your answers. In my opinion, the answers are neither simple nor straightforward. Let me give you an example:

As the mother of a 14-year-old, I would like to have a quick way to contact my child (whether a 14-year-old is still a child or not, that’s another debate).

Stach, as a teenager, would like to have the ability to communicate with his peers, but it’s also essential for him to have access to his gaming playlists on YouTube. He values his privacy and treats his phone like a toothbrush :)) (I must admit, I’m making this up; I’m not sure if my son would agree with these words).

I encourage and invite you to consider this topic from at least two perspectives. What do you think about that?


My brother’s oldes child is about 14 and still doesn’t have a phone… If I were to get my son a phone, it would probably be one of these: https://www.nokia.com/phones/en_us/feature-phones (there are more option on the Polish site)

I’d choose a Symbian one since KAIOS is connected to China. A flashlight and calling would be enough for him.
Unless the next Mudita is more to my liking, then I’d het him that :grin:


If you lived in the USA, then I would recommend one of the Sunbeam Wireless cellphones. I have had the F1 Orchid for more than a year and still love its simplicity as well as the functionality that I get from Sunbeam’s Premium service.

20230910 Update: Sunbeam Wireless now says on its home page that it will introduce an “F1 Pro” series next month:

Sometimes life can deal out some hard knocks. You need a phone that can keep up. We’ve heard your feedback and are introducing a new F1 Pro series of flip-phones in October. The F1 Pro will have a battery that’s nearly twice as large, is water-resistant, and is much more rugged. We’ve also built in a better screen and camera, but are still focused on keeping life simple and making time for the things that really matter. Come back soon for more info!


@Marcin_Hakemer-Ferna I’m impressed. This is really something!


Wow! I’m shocked and impressed! To be honest… how it is possible?

Wait for it, wait… new is coming :slight_smile:

It’s interesting that you mention Nokia. My son received a Pure for school some time ago and he found it quite decent, although he mentioned that it’s not something you can toss around, unlike the legendary Nokia models, as the rumor goes… :slight_smile:

I see that on our list we have:

  1. Calls
  2. Flashlight

I would like to add:

  1. Durability :slight_smile:

These are complex questions. I was avoiding thinking about this until recently because, as you said, there are no simple or straightforward answers.

I have experimented with putting a talk & text only sim on an old iPhone and given it to my oldest (now 12) when she has to be dropped off somewhere for a period of time, and involved walking to another location a couple blocks away. That service is now suspended (fraud issues with the payment method so unrelated to the topic), and I have given her my phone instead if I don’t need it as dad is at home too. Not a long-term solution but works for now.

The communication issue with her peers and other family members is on a fire tablet with messenger kids. As far as I know, she uses it sparingly (I can see all her messages and she knows that), as her friends are aging out of that app, and as she’s been homeschooled till now, her peer circle is small. She just started full time school, so we’ll see how this might change.

My 8yo has not been in any situation where I need to contact her right away.

So for the purpose of needing to contact them, I’m considering a feature phone. I just haven’t pulled the trigger yet since it’s not a regular need.

Currently the kids listen to audiobooks, and recently requested music, on an old iPhone. They have listened to me talk a lot about the downsides of screens, so they keep the phone in airplane mode, the colors in grey, and will ask permission before connecting to wifi for downloads. Camera is broken so no pictures. It mostly sits on the kitchen counter and we use the alarm function.

I recently learned my 8yo peers have smart watches (gab, gizmo), as their parents find this preferable to a smartphone-- they can be contacted quickly, the contacts are limited, the texts are pre-selected, the watch has a tracking function, and no access to the internet or social media. My 9yo nephew and 11yo stepchild have Apple Watches but no phone yet. So far smart watches seem to meet the needs of both kids and parents.


I know right…

  1. Durability is a really good one. And the flashlight too. I actually use my phone flashlight (wish it was the mudita with nice warm light) almost every night.

  2. Alarms - we use these so he knows how long something takes. E.g. how long he can watch cartoons…