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Verizon just announced the first smartphone plan designed for kids

Published Apr 2nd, 2019 7:06PM EDT
New Verizon plan
Image: Verizon

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Kids are sometimes as young as 10 when parents allow them to have their first smartphone, according to studies from recent years, which might sound too young to you or maybe even just serve as a reminder at how intensely mobile-centric our world has become. Of course, a corollary to giving youngsters handsets of their own is that now they can have smartphone plans of their own as well — all under mom and dad’s watchful eye.

Verizon has unveiled just that in the form of its new “Just Kids” plan, which will be available starting Thursday and includes unlimited texting and talking to 20 contacts the child’s parents have pre-approved. To get the plan, which also includes 5GB of 4G LTE data, it needs to be added to an existing “Go,” “Beyond,” or “Above” unlimited plan from Verizon.

The “Just Kids” plan also allows for 480p streaming, and parents will be able to easily set content controls to make sure their children don’t venture anywhere they’re not supposed to online. “With Just Kids,” said Verizon vice president of marketing Angie Klein, “we’re leading the way on growing up with tech, providing parents with plan options and features that give them the peace of mind they need for safe and responsible phone usage.”

Among other controls that will be available to the child’s parents, the plan will allow for a function that effectively pauses the child’s internet connectivity, blocking their Wi-Fi and cellular data. Within Verizon’s “Smart Family” app is also where parents will go when they want to switch up the list of contacts the child is able to communicate with.

We should note, Verizon doesn’t appear to have put an age minimum on the plan, leaving that decision up to the parents. If the parents have three of Verizon’s latest unlimited lines on their account, adding one “Just Kids” line can be as low as $5 more per month when enrolled in Auto Pay, which doesn’t include taxes and fees. Meanwhile, Verizon has also teamed up with the Family Online Safety Institute to promote families establishing ground rules for themselves and their kids that promote more responsible use of technology.

“The launch of Just Kids is a timely response to the true needs of parents raising connected children,” said Stephen Balkam, CEO of the institute. “As the digital world continues to change and expand, we are pleased to partner with Verizon to uphold their commitment to online safety by tailoring programs and products to reflect what families need the most.”

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.