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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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Lg Flare

LG Flare (Virgin Mobile)

Virgin Mobile's Flare ($19.99), a traditional flip phone, is simple to use: open to talk, close to hang up. Then toss it in a backpack, and it won’t make calls on its own when your little techster hits the buttons by accident. And like the Jax, if anything untoward happens to the phone while it’s in that backpack, it’s easy to replace.

The Flare even has a speakerphone for pajama-party gabfests. Since it's a prepaid phone, there's no commitment. Turn on texting when your child is ready for it, and give her a fixed number of texts. Turn it off if she misuses it.

Bottom line: Easy to use and replace. A no-contract plan that will let you dole out minutes as you see fit.

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? "