So your child is finally ready for their first phone, leaving you wondering how they grow up so fast – or failing that, 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
If you’re looking for a low budget low data SIM deal consider carriers like iD Mobile, Tesco, Sky Mobile and Asda where you can find data plans for under £10.
iD Mobile currently has a great rate in the UK for 16GB of data for £8 per month. This plan lasts for a month at a time, so you can quit at any time, and also includes 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 its best value plan, called the “golden goodybag”, offers 15GB of data for £10. There are also options for £8 for 3GB data, and £15 for 25GB data. See other Giffgaff plans.
Smarty is another provider to consider. You can pick up 30GB of data for £10, a deal currently running that boosts it up from 30GB. 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 and social media
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 and social channels with their contract plans.
For a lower data limit, there’s Voxi, which includes a 15GB plan for £10 per month. Voxi plans include unlimited access to social media to apps like Facebook, Whatsapp, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Messenger – so using the doesn’t eat into your data allowance.. This doesn’t include voice and video calls.
Best cashback SIM deal – Cheap data plans with a high data allowance
If you don’t mind cashback, the best SIM deal for 100GB data right now is with Vodafone for £8 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:
Family SIM plans and discounts
Don’t forget, if you’re already on O2 you can also qualify for a multi save discount while also consolidating your and your child’s bill into one. You can add up to 20 connections on a Family plan with O2 and get up to 20% 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.
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 of up to £200.
Hannah Cowton is a Senior Staff Writer at Tech Advisor and Macworld, working across entertainment, consumer technology and lifestyle. Her interests and specialities lie in streaming services, film and television reviews and rumours, gaming, wearables and smart home products. She's also the creator of The London Geek, a geek culture and lifestyle blog.