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The season's best cell phones for kids

Our tech expert chooses her top picks of the season for kids of every age.

By Christina Tynan-Wood

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Pantech Jest 2

Ages: Elementary through middle school

Your little one is begging for a phone. You want to know, "What’s in it for me?" This cute texting phone is small enough to fit in the pocket of those too-tight jeans you wish she wouldn't wear. The Pantech Jest 2 (to date, free with contract at has a music player so you can reclaim the one she pilfered from you. It also has built-in GPS and mapping so you don’t have to worry she’ll get lost on the way to school. And if you are thinking of adding a line to your Verizon contract, this phone is affordable — with a two-year commitment. But that's not the only advantage of an in-plan phone. You can also use Verizon’s online parental and usage controls. These not only block unsavory parts of the web, but let you turn the phone off at certain times of the day. No late-night texting! No talking during school! Bad grades? No calling at all!

Bottom line: A cute, affordable, texting phone for kids too young for a data phone.

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

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