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Back to School Phone Options: Advice for Parents

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As the school year begins across the country, many parents are deciding whether their children should have a mobile phone. The decision is further complicated by schools cracking down on phones nationwide.

So my advice?

Don’t hand down your old Android phone because security updates might be a problem. Unless it’s very new. Get the latest model possible but don’t spend too much. Let’s face it .. kids won’t be able to use them as much due to the school bans.

Djuro Sen discussing back-to-school phones with Tim Gilbert on Sky News Weekend Edition

On the iPhone side – get a refurbished model that is supported by iOS 17. The iPhone 8 and X are getting too old.

Here are some affordable options I’ve compiled for you but you need to act fast as most are on special.

Nokia 2660 Flip

Nokia 2660 Flip

Nokia 2660 Flip is HMD’s retro design with modern insides. Its long battery life and basic operation, makes it ideal for the youngest school kids. It flips open to reveal a big display and big buttons. The 2660 Flip also comes with Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC) and emergency button that works while closed. There are other features like games, web browsing and camera. Although the camera is made in the modern day, the shots it takes are definitely from the early 2000s. Good choice for mostly phone calls and text messages.

NOKIA 2660 ON SALE FOR $97

Nokia G22

The Nokia G22 can be repaired at home using Quickfix

The Nokia G22 is the first phone in the HMD Nokia range to enable Quickfix repairability. As I tell Tim in the video above, if your kid breaks it, he or she can fix it. Pretty handy skill to learn. Together with ifixit, Nokia has created a self-repairable phone where aspects like dead batteries, broken screens and bent charging cables can be fixed at home by the phone user, without voiding the warranty. The Nokia G22 prioritises a longevity-first design with the self-repairability being supported by 3 years of warranty and updates as well as a 3-day battery life.

NOKIA G22 ON SALE FOR $289

OPPO A79 5G

OPPO’s A79 5G is a fresh release in Australia

The A79 5G is the most expensive in this group but it’s definitely good value. It has all the best feature you’d expect from OPPO. The large display is incredibly bright. You can see in the demo video above just how bright it gets. Brilliant for outside use by kids. A hefty 5,000mAh battery can be charged to 100% in approx. 74 minutes. A 5-minute charge is enough for up to 2.6 hours of phone calls. Dual AI rear cameras are outstanding at this price.

OPPO A79 5G FOR $367

Motorola G54 5G

The Moto g54 5G is outstanding value

The moto g54 5G comes packed with Motorola’s usual features which include twist-to-launch-camera and shake-for-torch. It has an excellent 6.5” display with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate. The rear 50MP camera system with OIS can capture outstanding images. Of course, it’s also 5G. At less than $250, the Moto G54 is amazing value.

MOTO G54 5G ON SALE FOR $247

iPhone SE – refurb

iPhone refurbs make sense but only if they are still supported by iOS updates

iPhone has a long support timeline but it’s not endless. So I would recommends parents look for a 2020 SE device. These refurbished phones are great for families that want to be all-in with Apple team. This is handy for easy sharing and tracking. Although you’ll see many iPhone 8 and X models around, I would skip these as they are at, or nearing the end of their support life from Apple. This is important for security updates. It’s also a good idea to underscore the importance of phone security with you children as it will help set them up in later life. I’m pleased to say my kids are always doing the right thing when it comes to security .. and they are in their twenties now.

IPHONE SE (2020) REFURB ON SALE FOR $299

Smartwatches

Trackers could give parents some peace of mind

In this week’s segment we also covered smartwatches at school. I found that rules vary on the use of these devices in different jurisdictions. Some won’t allow them, others will, if they are in flight mode or with notifications turned off. Of course, there are exemptions for medical reasons.

Watches are often used to track where children are during the day so another option might be AirTag for Apple users or SmartTag2 for Samsung owners. Tile will work for all. Just pop one in your kid’s bag and you’re good to go. Although two-way communication isn’t possible you could just make them beep remotely. That could signify you need to make contact.

Or you could just ring the school .. old skool.

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