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The best SIM only deals for kids and teenagers

By Dan Howdle | Thursday, August 12th 2021

It seems like only yesterday, they were toddling around, chirping with delight over the simplest little things. In no time at all, those chubby little hands grew, quickly developing an ardent desire to get their hands on a smartphone.

When providing their child with a phone, parents often pass on an old handset or perhaps choose a kid-friendly phone. This is where child and teenager-appropriate SIM cards come into play. There are flexible rolling 30-day contracts or longer 12-month deals to choose from, those aimed at the whole family that offer parents total control, and those designed for teens with unlimited data or social media usage. These are the best of the best.

Giffgaff Mobile

1. Best no-contract SIM for kids

giffgaff SIM with 500MB goodybag

  • Data
    500MB
  • Texts
    Unlimited
  • Minutes
    Unlimited
  • Contract length
    1 month
  • Monthly cost
    £6 per month

Giffgaff's 'goodybags' are basically a bundle of minutes, texts and data that expire in 30 days. The advantage is, you're not technically under any contract beyond that period, so you can cancel lapse for a month or two, or upgrade your goodybag any time you like.

Although 500MB may not seem like a lot of data, your kids are going to be using their phones most often when they're at home and connected to WiFi, so it's really no big deal. The main thing is you can put one of these SIMs in any phone, and the goodybags will never run out of minutes and texts, meaning your child or children will always be able to contact you, and you them even when the data runs out.

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SMARTY Mobile

2. Best multi-SIM family package

The SMARTY Group Plan

  • Data
    Various
  • Texts
    Unlimited
  • Minutes
    Unlimited
  • Contract length
    1 month
  • Monthly cost
    From £6 per month

SMARTY's Group SIMs are ideal for large families. The idea is you have one 'owner' – usually the parent – and up to eight SIMs for the rest of your family. The owner determines usage, data limits, content controls and everything else. And of course they also pay the bill.

So the level of control here is very appealing. Every SIM you add delivers an extra 10% discount on the last. Added to that, all SIMs are on a one-month rolling contract, which means you can add, subtract or edit usage limits any time you like. The owner has complete monitoring access to everything being done on all SIMs, so you will be able to see whether your kids are glued to their phones or actually doing their homework!

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BT

3. Best add-on SIMs for families

The BT Family SIM

  • Data
    1GB to 100GB
  • Texts
    Unlimited
  • Minutes
    Unlimited
  • Monthly cost
    From £17 per month

If you're already with BT, either on your mobile or your broadband, BT's Family SIM deals may appeal. They're certainly not the cheapest around when it comes to group SIMs for families. However, BT does offer a 20% discount on every additional SIM beyond the first, which does bring it just about into the realm of the affordable. And having all your bills combined certainly keeps things simple.

Parents have full control over the content and data limits – from 1GB to 100GB – of each SIM and can monitor usage and restrict at specific times of day. Homework time for example. You can also add or remove SIMs from the family bundle as and when you please. The limit here is five SIMs, so bear that in mind if you have a particularly large family.

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VOXI

4. Best capped data SIM for teenagers

VOXI Endless Social Media SIM

  • Data
    8GB to unlimited
  • Texts
    Unlimited
  • Minutes
    Unlimited
  • Contract length
    1 month
  • Monthly cost
    From £10 per month

VOXI is the only mobile provider aimed specifically at teenagers, and some of what it offers as a result makes it the natural choice for our top recommendation on capped packages for teens. Primarily, that's because it offers unlimited access to social media without eating into your data limit. So if your teenager blows most of their data limit on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Snapchat, they never need to dent their monthly data allowance.

Mid to top-tier SIMs from VOXI also feature 'Endless Video' which allows unlimited time watching YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video and more, again without denting the monthly data allowance.

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Three

5. Best unlimited data SIM for teenagers

The Three unlimited no-contract SIM-only plan

  • Data
    Unlimited
  • Texts
    Unlimited
  • Minutes
    Unlimited
  • Contract length
    1 month
  • Monthly cost
    £20 per month

This is, at the time of writing, the cheapest unlimited data deal out there. Now, there is an argument to be made that since we spend so much of our time within range of WiFi – especially in these difficult times – is there really a need for unlimited data? But unlimited data does have some advantages. Not having to worry about WiFi range when moving around your house, for example, and having a back-up when your fixed-line broadband is on the blink.

Teenagers will be especially thrilled with the ability to never have to worry about not being connected, provided the Three network doesn't drop dead. It's not the cheapest SIM deal in the world, but it is the cheapest of its kind.

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Compare cheap SIM only deals

Frequently asked questions

How will my children use their phones?

How an individual child uses their phone will vary of course, but as a general rule, you should find a SIM with lots of data, and plenty of call time. This way your child won't run out of minutes just as they miss their bus home. Happily, there are many SIM deals available with lots of data and high or unlimited call allowances.

Should I cap my children's usage?

In a word, yes. Where capping is available it's a good way to prevent bills getting out of hand, by setting an upper limit which your child can't exceed. Despite a lot of plans offering unlimited minutes and texts, there are still ways to run up a large bill (photo messaging, premium rate numbers etc), so capping their ability to spend is a good idea.

Are there any unexpected charges I should watch out for?

Picture messaging (MMS) can catch people out. In a lot of contracts this is not part of your text allowance, and can really add-up. An MMS doesn't need to contain a picture or video either. Messages over 160 characters will also be sent in MMS form, so it's best to encourage kids to use messaging apps to send pictures or longer messages, but check how to use these services safely first.

It's also a good idea to speak with your child about premium rate lines, which are often used for competitions or directory services. If a number starts with 084,087,09 or 118 it usually won't be included in your SIM's minute allowance and will cost extra.

How do I keep my kids away from inappropriate content on their phones?

Allowing your children to connect to your home WiFi is a great way to save their mobile data allowance, but remember to set adult content filters to keep your child from stumbling on anything disturbing or inappropriate.

It's important to check with your individual provider, but most mobile data connections have adult content blocked by default, requiring a credit card or similar proof-of-age to unlock it.

Your provider's website can give you some more in-depth advice on the subject, or you can visit the Internet Matters website which has lots of advice as well as instructions for setting up filters for most popular broadband providers.

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