We tried Apple’s newest model of the budget-friendly smartphone to see just how kid-friendly it is.
Once you’ve made the decision to get your kid their first phone, you quickly realize just how overwhelming it is to figure out which device to buy. It’s a pricey investment, so you want to get one that lasts—but there are just SO. MANY. OPTIONS.
Enter the newest iPhone SE. While this phone has been a long-standing favourite from Apple, its newest model—which launches March 18—packs even more punch than its predecessors. Here are a few reasons why this is a great option for your kid’s next phone.
1. It’s the most affordable iPhone on the market
If you don’t have an old phone that you can hand down to your kid, the newest SE has a starting price of $579. It’s still pricey for a kid, but it’s considerably cheaper than their other models—and that doesn’t mean you’re missing out. The SE actually boasts their most powerful processor, also found in their latest iPhone 13 and iPad Mini models.
So what does this mean? Kids will have smoother performance, enhanced graphics and longer battery life while parents can breathe a sigh of relief because this device is going to last for a long time. There’s no need to worry about upgrading after a year due to glitches or outdated technology. Plus, it’s got 5G for a faster wireless connection.
As well, your budding photographer will appreciate its new camera that allows for incredible photos and 4K video. (The one downside to the camera is it doesn’t have night mode so shooting with low light won’t always guarantee the clearest photos. Hopefully your kid will be lights out before then!)
2. It is super durable
Thanks to its compact size, the SE fits perfectly in smaller hands (and smaller pockets!). But even if your little one does drop their phone, rest assured that it’s unlikely to get damaged. Why? Because the glass used on the front and the back is supposed to be the toughest glass you can get on a smartphone so you’re unlikely to deal with a cracked or shattered screen. (We’d still recommend a case for an extra layer of protection.) The phone is also water (and dust) resistant so small spills won’t mean the end of the device.
3. It helps you to manage your kid’s screen time
Apple knows that navigating screen time can be a concern for many families. In fact, almost four years ago they gave parents the ability to manage what kids can do on their devices (and for how long) through Family Sharing. Not only does Family Sharing allow you to set permissions around screen time but it also lets you approve (or decline) what your kid can buy or download. From your own device, you can disable certain apps and set limits around what content kids can access, including games, podcasts, books, movies and shows. (Bonus: With the purchase of every Apple phone, iPad and Mac, you get a free three-month subscription to Apple TV+ where kids can watch exclusive family-friendly content, such as Ghostwriter, Snoopy in Space and Fraggle Rock.)
And if you really want to know how much time your kid is spending on their homework versus playing games or scrolling through social media, you can check out a weekly report that breaks down what apps are used and for how long. (Parents, you can do the same for yourself; we’re all guilty of too much screen time!)
4. It has other features that parents will appreciate, too.
Another plus is location sharing, which allows you to share exactly where you are with other family members. And while this is a feature that can be disabled, there’s a setting that prevents your kid from doing so without your permission. Bonus: It can also make it easier to find a lost device, whether it was left at Grandma’s house or it slipped between the couch cushions.
Even with all of these super helpful features, it’s always important to have a conversation with your child before you purchase their first phone and specifically outline your family’s rules and expectations.
The iPhone SE is available in three colours: Midnight, Starlight and (Product) RED and will be available March 18. Preorders start March 14 from apple.com.
Stay in touch
Subscribe to Today’s Parent’s daily newsletter for our best parenting news, tips, essays and recipes.