Phone for my Son


So my son is getting older and we are starting to think about a mobile phone for him. On one hand, I still think he is a little too young at only 11 (and in year 5). But he’s starting to go out more riding his bike (within a limited distance) and such so it would be nice to be able to keep track of him.

As it stands he inherited my old iPad Mini which is cellular so I bought a cheap SIM to let him tap into our data plan… so the step up from that to a phone doesn’t seem to take alot of extra justification (if I can get by with a data SIM in a phone it might be even cheaper month to month??). The thinking at this point is that the phone wouldn’t normally leave home (ie when he goes to school it would stay home) but would be allowed when he goes out or we go away on holidays (much like his iPad). He plays Pokemon Go so a phone is a little easier to handle vs the iPad.

This would also allow us to hand his 5th gen iPod touch down to my younger Daughter who is still using an older iPod Touch with a 30 pin connector that’s stuck on iOS 6.x which means no Apple Music or Spotify for her :frowning: That would save me a few $$ right there.

…so… It’s bloody expensive to buy an iPhone.

Which leaves me with a couple of options.

  1. Upgrade my iPhone 6 Plus 128GB to an iPhone 7 Plus and hand the old one down.

Pros: I only have to buy one phone.
(also I get a new phone ;))

Cons: It’s actually an expensive phone.
A good rugged case will be $80 - $100 (for my son)
It’s two years old
The iPhone 7 is bloody expensive (even on a plan vs my BYO SIM plan I’m currently on).

  1. Upgrade my iPhone 6 Plus 128GB to an iPhone 7 Plus and sell off the old iPhone 6 Plus 128GB and acquire a new phone for my son.

Pros: Two new phones with warranty.

Cons: Two expensive phones.
A good rugged case will be $80 - $100 (for my son)

Even then it’s a toss-up as to which phone as well as outright vs plan.
(for comparison I’m considering a $30 Optus Business BYO plan on my account which gives unlimited calling + 1.5GB data + access to the wider data pool which has always been way more than enough even with his iPad)

The iPhone 5S is $369 (prepaid Optus) so I’d come out in front after selling my old phone (or at least break even with a good case). While it would be a nice new phone with a new battery and new warranty it would also be a year older technology wise than handing my 6Plus down… and I’m a nerd that doesn’t like old things. Also, it’s only 16GB and while that’s probably fine for him… more storage would be very nice.

The iPhone SE is a 6S in a different form factor. I would feel far less conflicted spending cash on that as a phone vs the older 5S. It does come in 64GB but we are now talking $55 / month which is $25 / month more than the SIM only plan and adds up to $600 extra over the term (or $201 more than buying the iPhone 5S outright…) and still cheaper than purchasing the phone outright from Apple.

The iPhone 6S is just getting too expensive (and given my Wife has a 6S I’d probably upgrade her to a 7 and hand that one down).


I consider the cheapest of all options and that is to buy a ~$200 Android phone and be done with it. He can still use Apple Music and Spotify, it should run Pokemon Go… the only limitation being it’s not going to use iMessages or all the Apps he knows and loves from his iPad… and we are starting to split the eco system up. (damn technology lock in :stuck_out_tongue: ). Anything much more than $200 and I may as well just get the iPhone 5S.

(Of course, a 2nd hand unit would save me a few $$ but then it’s a question of what issues I could be buying vs my perfectly good phone (or a new unit).

Plan F: I’ve got an iPhone 3GS sitting here unused. It won’t run anything modern but would work as a phone in a pinch.

Plan G: Do nothing. He has the iPad, can facetime audio if he needs to and it works just fine (if a little bulky) when he’s out.

Half the point of this (long) post was to help me get it all down in my own mind. But I welcome any comments.


I’m not suggesting that you should go Android but if you do I’d suggest moving your budget up a little from $200 to $279 (at Harvey Norman or $277 at Office Works linked below) which will buy you a Motorola Moto G4 Play which is pretty much the pick of the Budget Android phones at the moment.


Thanks for that. I hadn’t really looked for anything specifically Android just yet, just a gut feel from the few ads I’ve seen floating about in supermarkets and the like (ie cheap cheap phones). If I go down that path I’ll research it more than a healthy person should :stuck_out_tongue:


If you want to keep them in the Apple system for imessage and such , why not just buy your son a secondhand iPhone 5, still runs the latest OS fine and can be picked up for around $100 -$150.
Not the end of world then if he loses it or breaks screen as can be replaced fairly cheaply.


Remember that sticking with iPhone you can share apps.

I’d get a 5S for him or an SE when Kogan have those eBay sales.


Yep, totally on board with keeping an iOS device for all the reasons mentioned. Just missed out on an iPhone 5 on OCAU, will have to keep looking.


We repurposed two old iPhone 4Ss for our two boys (ages 11 & 6) while we were in Japan recently, and it worked so well that we’ve been thinking of setting it up for here in Australia too - would pretty much fit the usage you’re talking about.
Each phone had a data-only sim card. I set up Family Sharing in iCloud and added the boys to my family group, ensuring their location was shared within the family group. Each boy had a bumbag that they carried the phone in.

  • If the boys got lost they knew how to call me using Facetime or Skype.
  • If the boys got lost I could track their position using Find My Friends or Find My iPhone (also for finding their phone if they left it somewhere).
  • Both boys were shown how to open Google Translate so they could initiate a conversation with someone who didn’t speak English.
  • The phones had some games so they could amuse themselves while we were waiting in queues or at restaurants (I’d be less likely to have the games here in Australia, where the phones would be solely communication devices).

Being 4Ss the batteries weren’t great, so I put a powerpack and USB cord in the bumbags too. (They sometimes had to use them if they had been playing Crossy Road for a long train journey, but mostly it was on the assumption that if they got lost it might need a lot of usage before we were reunited). If we were setting this up to use here in Australia I’d get the batteries replaced.

Last time I checked with Telstra iit was possible to buy data-only sims for iPads (and so iPhones too?) that were one-off purchases with the data allowance lasting 12 or even 24 months, which would be a good economical option if the device isn’t for websurfing or other data-intensive use.


my son (17) had an original iphone (2g) up until a year or so ago, now has 4s (on second of these as he skates and keeps breaking them). when he broke the first 2g he asked for a replacement, still 2g. if the point is just for emergency phone calls then go the 3gs. besides, 3gs is almost retro now, so kinda cool.


We have a “spare” iPhone 5 (my old one before my 5S) which we picked up a pay-as-you-go Vodafone SIM in it, which technically is for my 9yo “just in case” he needs to call us/gets lost etc when we are out and about.

The phone was purchased from eBay for a couple hundred bucks (a few years ago now).

I guess if you’re looking at it becoming his main mobile device then you might want something newer, but if you look out for the ‘right’ one, eBay can deliver… and with PayPal protection etc… the risks are greatly reduced…


Of the options you mention I’d go the 5S prepaid. Whatever you do I would go the pre-paid route. May not matter quite so much now, but wait till he’s a little older. Teenagers can go through data like a wounded bull. At least with a pre-paid sim you can limit the damage, not get one of those ‘surprise’ bills Today’s a Current Affair’s Project like so much.


I am in the same dilemma after washing Master entropy’s hand me down iPhone 5 (after I had just finished lecturing him on leaving stuff in his pocket, I didn’t check myself). I really would like to get a SE but the price is not justified. Have been watching gumtree and eBay for the right moment. Maybe after Christmas.

I am thinking boost, ALDI or woolworths prepaid (all Telstra MVNOs)

What I did do in the past was get hold of an old Nokia 520 and used that ($100 at the time). I don’t mind windows phone OS but you can tell Microsoft isn’t investing too much in it, There are bits of the OS that need a fair bit of refinement, and the build quality of the phone itself is quite ordinary, and battery life is terrible, even after putting a new battery in it. If Apple built a phone like this you would never hear the end of it.


IF it matters, Boost uses the whole of the Telstra network, not just “part” as Aldi and Woolworths do.

@The_Hawk I think I would be going the SE route: not too bulky, and an 11 yr old does not need a PLus size. However, He will have the benefit of much of the 6S features.


I don’t mind the non pre-paid route for the moment, we have plenty of data… but it’s definitely something I keep an eye on.

$55 / month is, however, a lot of money to be spending on an 11-year-old… hell, it’s more than I spend on me! (since I’m on a $40 BYO plan!).

Which then gets me into the thought pattern of me getting a new phone and him inheriting my old one… but then it’s actually cheaper to buy outright (and stick to by BYO plan)… but I don’t really want to drop $1,400 odd for a new 7 Plus… so maybe I just hunt down a 2nd hand one… then I struggle to find one that seems like a good price for the spec I’d get… so new seems like a good option… but then it’s expensive… so a plan looks nice… aaaaannnnd back to the start again :stuck_out_tongue:

Plan G is looking better and better :smiley:


I put my 10 year old son on an Exetel plan, only $10 a month for first 6 months, 2 gb of data, $600 worth of calls per month and then cancel and find new plan after 6 months. On Optus network, suits us fine for him to play Pokémon go.


If you’re happy to go data-only, and communicate by Facetime/Skype, you can get a pre-pay sim with Telstra with 20Gb to use over 365 days for $150. Won’t be enough if it’s used for downloading videos, etc, but would be fine if it’s just used for communications away from home. I had to hunt to find it on the Telstra page - they don’t seem to promote it much, because it’s quite cheap.


Kogan (Vodafone I think) has a deal going if you pay a year up front you can get unlimited calls and a gig of data for the equivalent of $10.36 a month, 3 gb for $17.36 a month, and 8 Gb for $20.01 a month.