Consumer Alert: So your kid isn’t ready for a smart phone? Here are some safer compromises

ROCHESTER, N.Y.- It seems we all want to reach out and touch someone for Christmas.  We gave you tools Monday to help you determine whether your child is cell phone ready. I told you about a test developed by AT&T and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

And many of you contacted me to say that the test showed that your child is not yet ready.  So you asked for kid-safe options. I did some digging. Here are some options:

The Gabb phone

  • Your child won’t have access to the internet or social media.
  • He will have unlimited talk and text.
  • You must use Gabb wireless.
  • Right now it’s $25 a month and the phone is free


  • It works with most major carriers
  • You can choose your child’s call and text contacts
  • Your child will have no internet or social media access.
  • He will have kid friendly apps
  • The phones start at $200 and plans are $15.


  • You must use Troomi Wireless.
  • You can choose your child’s call and text contacts
  • You can allow internet access and set limits.
  • The phone has kid-friendly apps.
  • Right now phones start at $95, and plans start at $20 a month.

These phones come with custom software; parental controls are built in.  All three offer a great first step to having a cell phone if your kiddo is not ready for the big jump.  But if you want to use your own phone, there are a number of apps that help you monitor and limit your child phone activity.  Here are some of them:

Google Family Link

  • It gets great reviews, and it’s free.
  • You can decide which apps your child can download.
  • You can filter out mature web content.
  • You can also set time limits.

Net Nanny

  • Gets top marks from most tech gurus.
  • It’s $60.
  • It can track your child’s location.
  • You can sets time limits.
  • You can block apps as well as filter content within apps like TikTok, Yutube and Instagram.

Kaspersky Safe Kids

  • Tom’s Guide calls it the best buy for your money.
  • The paid tier is $15  for an unlimited number of devices.
  • You can track your child’s location.
  • You can set time limits.
  • You can block certain apps.
  • It also allows you to block certain YouTube searches.

Lastly. Norton Family and OurPact are also options. Norton Family is recommended for android devices, and OurPact is considered the best parental control app for apple products.  Norton is $50 a year and OurPact starts at $7 a month.