How to choose a phone for your kids

I am getting so many emails from you wanting to know how to give your kids the greatest Christmas gift of all - the gift of communication!

But, how do you choose the right phone for your kids? With so many models in the market, and these models being replaced almost fortnightly it is almost impossible. So, follow my never fail rules for buying a model phone and you will be on the right track.

There are hundreds of models and brands for you to look at and they are being replaced almost weekly! Start by looking at my little crib sheet here to move in the right direction:

- Make sure your phone is 'unlocked'. This will mean it can run on any network simply by changing the sim card. Do not by a locked phone!!
- 3G or Not 3G? 3G, always 3G. Being given a 2.5G phone is on par with being given clothes. You want to love it, but you are wondering why the person who loved you that much to find this gift decided not to get you something that you REALLY wanted. 3G is the current network standard and 3G phones are far cheaper than they have been ever before. The networks are wanting new customers to sign up to 3G because each 3G tower can transmit more concurrent phone calls than 2.5G and this is more efficient for them.
- Expandable memory is a must. Make sure your phone has a 'microsd' slot. This will mean your kids can store pics, music and more on a microsd card and also take the card out of the phone and insert it into a card reader on the pc.
- Stay with a well know brand. Nokia and Samsung are number one and two in the market for a reason. Buying a well known brand comes with warrranty support and a wider range of service centers if you have a problem.
- Look to spend under $100. Today this investment will get you a basic phone, that does all the basic functions and in this pool of funky features I am including: Mp3 player, basic camera, calls, mms, sms and a few other necessities.
- Leave the frills for later. Your kids will have plenty of time to get the latest touch screen phone with all the bells and whistles. Give them a basic one now, that has fewer features so they can learn to manager their phone, before moving forward with more options. If you give them the best phone now, what do they have to look forward to later in life!!
- Slider or key pad, don't dwell on it. The worst thing about a slider is if the slide function gets damaged, then it doesn't work too well after that. Look out for the design you want and buy it.
Finally, a little known fact about mobile phones being sold in Australia is that they need to be compliant to Australian standards. ACMA are responsible for policing the practice of the 'A' tick. A phone with an 'A' tick is compliant, and the A tick is the part you can look for when making your purchase. Although Australia is a competitive market for phones, I am not sure whether the current strategy of dodgy importers being dobbed in by other importers for selling 'untested' phones is all that safe, but that is a whole new post for another time.