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Nine cell phones for the holidays

Ring in the holidays with one of these kid-friendly phones.

By Christina Tynan-Wood

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Kyocera Jax

Kyocera Jax (Virgin Mobile)

Trusting an expensive phone on a two-year contract to someone who typically can’t find his shoes is a daunting prospect. That’s why the Kyocera Jax ($9.99) — available in magenta or black on a prepaid plan from Virgin Mobile — is a safe but still hip option.

This slim, candy-bar-style cell phone comes with no contract. Got a chatterer? Load it up with a minutes pack, starting at $20 for 200 minutes. Or, for the strong, silent type, put some cash in his account and pay 20 cents per minute. If your child's phone ends up disappearing the way his shoes do, he'll learn his lesson without costing you much more than the price of lunch. And if he does well, you can always upgrade him to a no-contract, $25-a-month unlimited voice, text, and data plan.

Bottom line: Cheap, no-commitment phone and plan. Easy to replace if lost or broken.

Christina Tynan-Wood has written for Better Homes and Gardens, Popular Science, PC World, PC Magazine, InfoWorld, and many others. She currently writes the "Family Tech" column in Family Circle and blogs at

Comments from readers

"nice article "
"I need to buy school suply for my kids. Where to go?"
"From our local school board policy on cell phones: 'Students may not use, display, or have in operational mode any telecommunications device at school during school hours. While on a school campus, all electronic devices must be in the OFF position during school hours. Any electronic device that rings, beeps, vibrates, or otherwise indicates the receiving of a signal during school hours shall be confiscated.' If it is a safe assumption that many or most schools have similar regulations, what's the point in giving kids cell phones? Aren't we just setting them up for problems? And since the office has landlines which can be used in case of an emergency, I'm not clear on why kids would need cell phones at school anyway."
"Why was there not a single AT&T phone in that entire list?"
"What about deals through ATT? My husband and I have had ATT for years and I would like to know about getting my 3 kids phones like these with the parent controls. Does anyone know of any? "