Thinking about buying your child a smartphone? With the arrival of the lower-cost iPhone 5C ($79 at Walmart with a contract), it may seem the logical choice. The iPhone has a simple interface, parental controls, all sorts of apps and, now, cool bright colors. But is an iPhone better than your Android options? I’ve broken it down by parental pain points and made a pick for the best type of smartphone for kids.
If you were to just consider the parental controls available through Apple’s iOS versus Android, iOS would win hands down. You can easily shut off access to web browsing, the camera, video chat, installing apps, deleting apps and sharing location information, among other things. Plus, you can set content ratings for videos, music, books and apps, and even set a volume limit.
With iOS 7 (coming Wednesday for current devices) parents also get the ability to automatically block access to adult content on the Internet or limit browsing to a list of sites they’ve approved.
Android phones offer few parental controls baked-in. You can set content restrictions for entertainment and apps available through the Google Play store, and require a password before your child can make a purchase, but that’s about it. The password requirement for purchases also doesn’t hold true for free apps, so they could still download free games if you didn’t want them to.