08 December 2023

Buying your child their first phone
6 Minutes BY The Three Team

We’re all amazed at how quickly our kids grow up – and when it comes to buying them their first smartphone, there are a bewildering number of choices available. What most parents want is a good phone that is good value, and one that’s safe for their kids to use. That’s why we’ve created this ‘essential guide’ to getting the best kids’ phone on the market. 

When is the right time to buy your kids their first phone?

There is no set time or age when kids are expected to have a smartphone. They may ask for one if their friends have smartphones, but as each child develops differently, it’s a decision that you need to make.

When children move up to secondary school is often the time when having a smartphone makes practical sense. If you pick up your kids from school or from sports and activities, it helps in case you are running late or if plans change.

Discussing it with your children is important as it includes them in the decision - and you can discuss the responsibilities of having a smartphone and the parental controls you intend to put in place.

Also, you can introduce them to the idea of screen time – putting a structure on the amount of time they can use the device for. To that point, be sure to check that any phone you’re looking at has the option to control screen time – it should be clearly highlighted as a feature.

Tip: Consider in advance when is the best time to give your child a smartphone and discuss it with them.


Why choose Three for your kids?

Three is a great network for your child’s first smartphone and is excellent value. Our Three Prepay plans start from just a €15 top-up every 28 days.

All You Can Eat Data

Three's new 3 Prepay 20 and 3 Prepay 30 plans come with All You Can Eat Data. Parent’s find it really useful, because most kids use apps like YouTube or Twitch all the time – apps that use a lot of data.

Unlimited Calls

Young phone users tend to focus only on how much data they have. For their sake, it’s important that you also decide how many calls and texts they can make, so they can always contact you. On 3 Prepay 15, with a €15 top up every 28 days, you get unlimited calls and 1GB of data. However, on 3 Prepay 20, when you top up by €20 every 28 days, you get All You Can Eat Data, unlimited Three to Three calls (handy if you’re on Three yourself) and 60 minutes to other networks. 

Adult Content Filter

All Prepay customers automatically have adult content filters enabled. To make sure children can enjoy safe access to the internet, we apply a ‘content filter’ which blocks access to web pages deemed objectionable, inappropriate, or illegal.

Tip: Choosing Three means choosing the best kids’ network and plan. Our prepay plans offer value, reliability and safety.

Choosing the best Mobile for your kids

A few years ago, there were phones for sale that were specifically for kids. Today, there are just smartphones, and you simply set them up to meet the needs of whoever is using them, whether it be kids or someone elderly in your family.

What kids use their phones for is evolving all the time and today, it’s about more than just social media. E-learning has grown as schools can now teach remotely, while kids use their smartphones for entertainment, with streaming and gaming becoming more and more popular.

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve picked some of the smartphones that are most suitable for kids.

Samsung Galaxy A54

Samsung is one of the most trusted and best-known smartphone manufacturers in the world. The Samsung Galaxy A54 itself is one of the most popular phones on the market today. One reason for the phone’s popularity is that it’s a great phone for kids.

Galaxy A54

The Galaxy A54 is popular with parents and kids alike for a range of reasons. The phone is affordable, making it a good fit for parents trying to stick to a reasonable budget. But even though you’re shopping on a budget, the Galaxy A54 packs in enough tech that kids will be proud to show it off to their friends too.

Most important for everyone these days is the camera system. The Galaxy A54 has a generous triple camera system ensuring great photos and video capture for TikToks, Snapchats and Instagram posts.

One feature parents always love to see is water-resistance. If your kids get stuck in the rain or drop their phone down the toilet, it’s protected by a IP67 rating. It can be in water, 1-meter deep, for 30 minutes.

The phone also supports 5G. This is great for mobile gaming with friends. Just grab a compatible prepay plan and they’ll be playing Fortnite on the go in no time.

Tip: The Samsung A54 is popular and from a brand you trust. It offers great specs, 5G support and is water-resistant.


OPPO has established itself as one of Ireland’s favourite smartphone manufacturers over the past couple of years. Your kids will definitely recognise the brand, perhaps from their sponsorship of the Champions League or simply because they make phones that are incredibly popular with kids. 

Oppo A17

OPPO prides itself on making phones with amazing specs but affordable prices and that’s just what you get with the OPPO A17.

The OPPO A17 is one of the best priced phones you’ll find at Three. But fear not, the OPPO A17 keeps the cost low by trimming back on some non-essential specs like fast charging and NFC (note this digital access to some concerts), the OPPO still has all the great specs that someone could need. These include a good 50MP + 2MP camera, 5000 mAh battery to keep your kids connected all day and an excellent bright screen for watching YouTube or TikTok.

Tip: The OPPO A17 is the best priced phone that still offers the essentials a kid would need today to keep connected.

iPhone SE

For some people, even kids, only an iPhone will do. We completely understand that the perfect birthday or Christmas present, regardless of age, is going to be iPhone. 

Some people will upgrade their own phone, then hand down their old phone to their child. That’s totally ok and if you just need a prepay plan, you know where we are.

If you want to give your kids your old iPhone, first make sure your phone is either unlocked or signed-up to Three. Then buy a Three Sim-Only plan, either Bill Pay or Prepay.

One of the most popular ways to buy a new iPhone for your kids is to get it on a Bill Pay contract. If you go for Bill Pay, it’s very important you discuss things like premium numbers and other out-of-plan costs in the Terms and Conditions section of the contract.

Which iPhone is best for kids?

We have a handy guide on which iPhone you should buy, but one of the most popular iPhones to buy children is the iPhone SE. That’s a really powerful iPhone that uses the same processor as the iPhone 13 Pro. It’s one of the smaller iPhones on the market too, which suits smaller hands and it’s the best value iPhone in the Apple range.

Tip: Giving your kids your old iPhone is one option; if it has to be new, the iPhone SE is a great choice. Choose a Prepay plan or a Bill Pay plan.

Need a bit more guidance?

At Three, we’re always here to help. Our agents are here to support you seven days a week from the comfort of your own home. Or let Three come to you with our one to one video shopping service 3Store Connect where our retail experts can guide you through our plans and phones.

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