People often ask us what an appropriate starter phone is for a child. As parents ourselves, our first recommendation is to make sure that your child is mature enough to be given a phone. Only you can evaluate that but it is an important decision. One 3rd grader might be ready, while a 5th grader might need to wait.
Once you've decided that your child is mature enough for a phone, the question becomes what phone you should get. The latest and greatest iPhone or Android phone do not come with a starter price. Kids being kids, you have to assume that the first phone will have an "accident". If the primary purpose of getting the phone is communication, then a basic flip phone is not a bad idea. Though they can be harder to find these days, these tend to be more durable than most smart phones and often be purchased for less than $50.
If you'd like to get your child a smart phone, one of better choices is a phone from the Apple iPhone 5-series. There are three models in this range: iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, and iPhone SE. The iPhone 5 is the oldest model and the SE is the newest. These are good compact phones for kids (fits into their pockets), and are relatively inexpensive to repair should the "unthinkable happen". You can also enable the FindMyiPhone feature on these phones so you can locate the device should it be misplaced.
Our next article will talk about some of the places you can find quality flip or smart phones.