Back to School with a Smartphone

Aug 01, 2019
By: Marissa Camilli

Getting your first smartphone is a rite of passage for many children. For many it’s that first glimpse of freedom, giving them access to the outside world many years before they can get behind the wheels of a car. It connects them to their peers, allows them to discover new trends (music, fashion, ideas) outside of their families interests, and helps to shape the person they will become in the years to come. And let’s not forget, if you listen to your kids (and we’re all kids at heart) smartphones are really cool — so you’ve just got to get one and the sooner the better.

When to Buy Your Kids First Smartphone

Parents will, of course, take into consideration a number of factors before buying their kid’s first smartphone. They will have to make a judgement on the individual child’s maturity, the environment they are entering (some schools don’t allow smartphones), and a whole heap of gut instinct (the real power behind most parenting decisions).

Whether parents follow Bill Gates’ advice and resist pester power to buy their children’s first smartphone until high school or bow to the pressure and put a device in the hands of a younger child (the average child in the United States gets their first smartphone when they are 10-years-old) there is little doubt, the new school year seems like a great time to buy a new device.

This assumption is backed up by National Retail Federation (NRF) figures that suggest upwards of 54% of parents are planning to buy expensive electronic devices, such as smartphones, tablets and laptop computers, for the new school term.

Further Reading: Back to School – It’s Like the Holidays Come Early.

The back to school sales peak is also highlighted by the high profile industry marketing campaigns trying to capture parents attention at this time of the year.

What Should Parents Look for in a Smartphone?

There are several things parents should look out for when buying a smartphone for their children.

  • Budget: There are so many variable to look at here. Do you purchase a device on a contract and set limitations on your child’s spending or opt for a pay-as-you-go device topping up devices as and when needed (both are fantastic ways to teach financial responsibility and prevent family arguments when unexpected bills land on your doorstep). Then there is the cost of the device itself. Thankfully for parents on a budget, many low-cost smartphones, including devices from the likes of Samsung and Motorola, as well as brands like Huawei, offer exceptional value for money.

Further Reading:  BRICS: A Smart Future Built on Affordable Devices.

  • Memory: Your kid will want to have all the latest apps on their device. This is probably more important to them then the manufacturer’s label.  Your kids will tell that they are defined by the social networks they are part of and the sheer number of selfies they can take and store on their device. There is no sound worse than the whine of a child decrying that their phone is full.
  • Personal Security: This is also linked to budget. You wouldn’t send your kid to school with $1,000 in their back pocket — so is it wise to let them pack such an expensive device.Part of the reason why you want your child to carry a smartphone is their personal security. If their device is too ostentatious, could this make them more vulnerable? It’s also inevitable that your child will drop and smash, or misplace a device within weeks of ownership. Think about what you can afford to replace without damaging your family unity too much. 
  • Battery Life: There is no point putting your faith in a mobile device to help your child find greater independence if they cannot phone home for reassurance or assistance because their smartphone battery is a dud.

Further Reading: Battery Life: Smartphones Go Back to the Future.

Check the Buyers Guides

To help parents select the best device for their kids we’ve scoured the web for the best back to school buyers’ guides:

The Back to School Opportunity for App Developers

With so many new devices entering the market at this time of year, this represents a huge opportunity for app developers to target new users.

Digital Turbine helps developers pre-load their apps on specific devices so they are ready for engagement from the moment a new device is unboxed — and you’ll never see more engagement than when a kid unboxes their first smartphone. Whether your app offers an educational resource or a little fun and games you can potentially play a significant role in helping a new device owner learn more about their smartphone.

To learn more about how you can use pre-loading to target the lucrative back to school market, speak to one of our app marketing experts today.

Marissa Camilli
By Marissa Camilli
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