Author Topic: Flip phone/dumb phone for teen?  (Read 366 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Flip phone/dumb phone for teen?
« on: April 30, 2021, 04:51:29 PM »
Anyone have good, cheap dumb phone/flip phone options? I don't want to get my teen a smart phone, because I know just how addictive they are. But a dumb phone is starting to seem like a good idea, he needs to be in touch with people.

Are there any cheap options that don't involve a monthly plan?


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Flip phone/dumb phone for teen?
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2021, 06:04:30 PM »
You're not wrong, but your teen's entire social life is probably online. Please don't make your kid lonely and the weird one just to protect them from technology. That would be wrong of you.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Flip phone/dumb phone for teen?
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2021, 08:47:20 PM »
Dumb phone will not suffice mid age teen if you don't want them to be an isolated hermit.  There are parental apps you can load onto phones to limit their time and apps they can use.


  • Stubble
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Re: Flip phone/dumb phone for teen?
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2021, 09:38:25 PM »
Try Gabb Wireless, it allows kids to call and text, but no apps, social media or internet.  Other people in this thread may think your poor teen will have no social life if they don't have a "real phone" but I call bull crap on that.  Kids can get in REAL trouble REAL fast with all of the apps/internet available to them.  Not only can it be very addictive, but kids can use social media to bully each other, etc.  Yes, I am speaking from personal AND professional experience.  You are smart to be cautious...if I can save even ONE parent and kid from the fallout from having free access to a phone I'm happy to speak up.  You may think you know your kid and may think they will be responsible and not do all those scary things you hear about, but you won't really know the until you take that phone from them and find out what they've REALLY been saying/doing.  And don't put it past them to delete apps, texts, phone numbers, etc in order to hide these activities from you.  I would legit pay more for a dumb phone for a teen than a smart phone JUST to keep them safe. 


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Flip phone/dumb phone for teen?
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2021, 05:57:04 AM »
Cell phone=monthly plan, no way around that.  Now there are cheap plans out there ($10/month) for just talk and text but you will need a plan.

Finding a DECENT dumb phone?  That's a whole different story and seriously good luck with that.  My son bought a cheap AT&T flip phone and yeah, you get what you pay for the thing was junk.  He couldn't receive half his calls and never got texts friends sent him.  He ended up getting an iPhone SE because he knows it'll work and last him a long time.


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Re: Flip phone/dumb phone for teen?
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2021, 04:32:23 PM »
You know, there's probably some middle ground between "sure, have unlimited access to this addictive little screen" and "NO, NOTHING FOR YOU."

I'd suggest actually having a real conversation (or a couple) to find out what your kids needs are. Is this meant to be a way for them to stay socially connected? If they play on a sports team, are player notifications going to go out via group texts? Do they want a way to play music? Is this mostly so you can call them/they can call you? And what are your actual concerns -- if it's around time, it's no big deal to set screen time limitations (and agree that all phones will spend the night in a charging location such as the kitchen counter). Is it around the teen's ability to get their shit done?

I've found it's quite useful to both talk with my kids about their needs and wishes and for me to (separately) identify our real concerns as parents. And then to have conversations about those things, and create backup plans for when the first plans fail, all with input from the kids.


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Re: Flip phone/dumb phone for teen?
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2021, 12:44:23 PM »
I figured my kid should learn to touch-type and told him he needs to do that before getting a mobile (smart) device.  I figure once you're using something that doesn't have a proper keyboard, you're not going to learn to touch type.  By that logic, of course, you also might not need to touch type, but it's a skill I find useful, and not hard to learn.

The kid refuses to learn to touchtype.  So, no smart phone (he's a teenager).  We got a dumb phone in 2019 and pulling up my ebay order history, it's a
Nokia 3310 3G Factory Unlocked Phone 2.4" Screen 32 MB Charcoal BB14/2 TA-1036 O

Honestly, the thing is pretty fabulous.  It's tiny, it's indestructible, it has great (I mean, phenomenal) battery life.  That's relevant if it's used by someone who can't keep track of stuff, because 3 days after he dropped it in a corner of his bedroom, it still rings when you call it.

We got a Ting plan for it.  He uses it mostly for backup communication.  In the pandemic, I don't think he really cares that he doesn't have a smart phone (I think having them when interacting in person with friends is part of the cache, and he's not doing much of that) -- he uses Discord (on a PC) to communicate with friends, and the phone when he's out and about solo and wants to be able to reach us, or we want to be able to reach him (or ditto when he's home alone, we want him to have a phone obviously). 

And I'm going to stand by what I said -- if he wants a smart phone, he can learn to touch type (and if he does do that, I'll get him one).  Meanwhile, honestly, I'm glad he doesn't as it dramatically simplifies keeping track of when he's online and reduces the kinds of things he's exposed to.