Should your kid’s phone have internet?

Words by
Jake Cutler

NOV 02, 2023

Should your kid’s phone have internet?

One of the earliest life lessons we learn is to look both ways before crossing the street. Almost as soon as we could walk, our parents saw the need to protect us from the dangers of oncoming traffic. 

What’s interesting is that this common safety skill is relatively new to the human family. It wasn’t until the late 1920s that cars became commonplace and stepping into the street without a good look suddenly became a real danger.

While most of us have a hard time imagining a world without cars, protecting our kids from new forms of traffic is actually one thing we have in common with parents from the early decades of the 20th century. 

The traffic we worry about today is digital, but no less dangerous—and in many ways, much more difficult to protect our kids from. When it comes to safely navigating a digital world, we don’t have a one-size-fits-all solution like “look both ways before crossing the street.”

Kid Safe Cell Phones

One of today’s trickiest parenting challenges is knowing when to give a child personal access to the internet through their own cell phone. 

Pew Research Center found that 73% of parents think a child should be at least 12-years-old before having their own smartphone. But that means more than a quarter of parents disagree.

Even within the group that sees age 12 as an acceptable starting point, opinions vary widely on the exact right age.

The right age will depend on your child. But just as you taught your kid to look both ways before crossing the street, you want to be confident your child is armed with some basic digital literacy before you give them tools to roam online without you.

In fact, knowing when to give a kid their first mobile phone is the reason Gabb was started in the first place. 

Gabb’s first innovation, the Gabb Phone Z1, was specifically created to give parents a safe phone option that does more and looks cooler than an old-school flip phone (so your kids actually want it). The latest evolution of that—Gabb Phone 3 Pro—comes from the same conviction that parents deserve better options when it comes to helping their kids learn tech in steps.

Gabb Phone with Red Case

You know your child better than anyone.  Consider their maturity level to decide when to give them full access to the internet. 

For example:

  • Your child’s grades at school might suggest how well they’re able to prioritize and manage time.
  • Whether they hold a job or commit to extracurricular activities might show you something about their level of responsibility. 
  • What are your child’s sleep habits? Smartphone usage can negatively impact your child’s sleep, causing health problems.

The list goes on. If you’re in the thick of this right now then you might want to check out our full Parents Guide for help as you make this decision.

If you’ve decided your child is ready for an internet-enabled smartphone then be sure to explore the parental controls available on your selected device. It will be important to help them balance their smartphone habits to limit the chance of excessive screen time and negate the dangers of social media, among other concerns. 

If you feel like your child might not be quite ready for an internet browser on their personal device, Gabb has got you covered. Gabb devices were designed specifically to help you guide your child as they take steps from “no tech” to “full tech.” Our Gabb Watch 3 provides the very first step into digital communication—it’s the safe phone kids wear.

Beyond Gabb Watch 3, we have two safe smartphones that provide those helpful next steps: Gabb Phone and Gabb Phone 3 Pro.

gabb phone plus

Gabb Phone: The Best Phone For Kids With No Internet

Text and Call

If you’re considering a phone for your child, then talk and text are two features you probably aren’t willing to go without. Gabb Phone comes with unlimited calling and text messages through the nation’s most reliable network. 

Unlike workaround options (like using wifi calling on an iPod touch) you know you can get in contact with your child whenever you need to. And as soon as your child has shown they’re ready for picture messages, parents can enable MMS messaging. 

GPS Tracking

Location tracking is one of the most important safety features for a kid’s first phone so Gabb Phone lets parents monitor their child’s real-time location 24/7. 

Active GPS tracking on their phone is accessible through the MyGabb app (available for download through the app stores on both Apple and Android phones), which lets you select safe zones, adjust how frequently their location is updated, and more.

The MyGabb app also makes it really easy to track down their phone if it gets lost, which is bound to happen at least once or twice. Not only will the app display the location of the lost device but you can choose to trigger a sound on the phone to help you find it.

Additional Features

In addition to those key features, Gabb Phone comes with 14 preloaded, kid-safe apps, including: video and camera, music, calendar, calculator, alarm clock, and photos.

The Safest Kids Phone in the World

As important as those features are, you’re probably just as interested in the features we left out. 

One thing that sets Gabb Phone apart from other options is that it has no internet, no social media, and no games. This means you get peace of mind as a parent—without any need to customize settings or enable apps—and they get a smartphone they’re excited about.

Gabb Phone 3 Pro the flexible phone for teens

Gabb Phone 3 Pro: The Safe Phone for Kids and Teens

Through flexible plan options that allow parents to set up the perfect first phone with just the basics, or add features and apps for the kids and teens who need more, Gabb Phone 3 Pro is a device you can tailor to teen or child’s evolving needs. With the advanced plan comes with the ability for parents to enable third-party apps that have been reviewed by Gabb.

Third-party Apps: Gabb-reviewed, parent-enabled.

On the advanced plan, parents can enable additional apps on their child or teen’s phone through My Account. These apps have been requested by our customers as a necessity or help, and each has been carefully reviewed by Gabb. 

Although we don’t allow any browser or social media apps on our devices, parents need to be aware that enabling third-party apps comes with the risk that your child may be able to access embedded web browsers found inside an app. These browsers could potentially allow users to access the internet or even social media platforms.

Every app comes with its own functionality and inherent risks, but our Gabb App Guide can assist you in making the best choices and help you stay informed on the abilities and potential hazards of each app—including whether an app includes an embedded web browser.

We encourage parents to take a thoughtful approach by considering your child’s individual maturity level when deciding what apps to enable, and which device is best for them.

Your Opinion Matters 

We can all benefit and learn from each other as we tackle new parenting topics our ancestors never had to deal with. Do you believe it’s essential for kids to have internet access on their phones? What are your thoughts on the advantages and drawbacks of granting them access at a young age? Leave your thoughts below in the comments.


  • Randi Tidd on Apr 23, 2022 08:12 PM

    I'm extremely interested in this for my daughter! I wonder how much it is?

  • Gabb on Apr 26, 2022 04:39 PM

    We are glad to hear it! Both our Phone and Watch are regularly $149.99. Use code Summer25 for $25 off either device today.

  • Koreana Marcel on May 04, 2022 09:40 AM

    I'd like to buy one for my child, but is it possible to turn OFF the tracker?

  • Gabb on May 05, 2022 01:16 PM

    Hi Koreana, the GPS tracking is built in to each device so it cannot be turned off. We appreciate the support!

  • Courtney on Jul 30, 2022 09:04 PM

    I am looking to get a phone for my 12 year old. I still don’t want him to have access to internet but will this phone look to babyish? Sadly all his peers have iPhones with internet access.

  • Gabb on Aug 01, 2022 03:25 PM

    We are told time and time again that our phones look very similar to other smartphones! The Gabb Phone plus could be a great option. They are $50 right now for back to school!

  • Britney on Nov 17, 2022 04:32 PM

    I love this idea! My 11 year old doesn’t need internet or the ability to download any additional apps that is not kid friendly .. (TikTok, Snapchat, instagram .. etc).

  • Pamela Rapier on Nov 20, 2022 06:38 AM

    What kind of phone service do y'all use.

  • Gabb on Nov 22, 2022 05:08 PM

    Hi Pamela, we use our own service that has towers nation-wide.

  • Diane on Dec 24, 2022 12:02 PM

    Are there any intentions of bringing this to Canada? Desperately need it for my high functioning autistic daughter who is 14.

  • Gabb on Dec 29, 2022 09:31 AM

    Hi Diane! We are currently focused on US expansion but we love our Canadian friends and will definitely get there as soon as we can! Canadian expansion is something we would love to do in the future. We appreciate your support!

  • Anne Bradfield on Jan 22, 2023 04:21 PM

    If I'm switching from another phone, may I take the SIM card with me and have the same phone number or must we get a new number?

  • Gabb on Jan 23, 2023 10:16 AM

    Hi Anne, if you are switching from one Gabb device to another Gabb device you can switch the sim card and keep the same number.

  • Alli on Jun 16, 2023 03:11 PM

    Would this be a good phone for a 15 year old?

  • Gabb on Jun 21, 2023 01:59 PM

    Although we can’t give a specific age, if your child is ready for a mature looking and feeling device with the ability to have the responsibilities of a smart phone without unsafe third party apps, social media and access to the internet, this phone is for them.

  • Jennifer on Jun 22, 2023 07:43 AM

    Can this phone be set where they can only call certain numbers

  • Gabb on Jun 22, 2023 10:13 AM

    With our Gabb Watch devices, parents are able to set up the contacts themselves. With our Gabb Phone devices comes a little more responsibility on the Gabb users end. They are able to add and delete their contacts on their own devices.

  • Kayla derousseau on Jan 27, 2024 02:26 AM


  • Kristi on Feb 22, 2024 03:29 PM

    Are older kids and teens with larger fingers still able to text on Gabb watches, or are the buttons too tiny and designed rather with young children in mind?

  • Gabb on Feb 22, 2024 05:17 PM

    Hi Kristi, that is a great question. While the device is more often chosen for younger ages, we do have older Gabb Watch users! We have not heard this to be an issue.

  • Everything You Need to Know About Gabb Phone Plus: The Ultimate Guide on Feb 26, 2024 10:19 AM

    […] easy to bypass internet blocking software. Gabb Phone Plus does not give kids direct or indirect access to the internet, social media, or any apps that would allow kids to circumvent the protections parents want in […]

  • Julie on May 22, 2024 04:24 AM

    How much does your service cost a month my daughter is 24 but has reasoning and other mentality of a 6 year old and gravitates twords children she bought a iPhone on her own before we stepped in and took her phone away but she takes off and don’t say a word the gps sounds like a great plan for my piece of mind and the no internet is perfect as she is unsafe on the internet please can I get more information on this phone and service I live in Texas

  • Gabb on May 24, 2024 06:41 PM

    Hi Julie, great question! Our Phones have a few different plans/features to choose from! To find out more about those + the monthly cost, check them out here on our website

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