There is a big pull these days for kids to get an iPhone. They start asking/begging starting way too early, but mainly they want to text with their friends and use common apps. One alternative is to just give your child an iPod. With an iPod they can have their own iMessage which then allows them to text with their friends (assuming their friends are also on iMessage). They can do things like Facetime, Skype, not to mention utilize a lot of different app options for actually talking on the phone (without a line), and it’s all done by tapping in to the wireless network in your house.
As a dad who travels, I actually have found it really special to be able to share the journey with my kids. I often find something while I’m away that reminds me of one of my kids and I can text them directly. It’s pretty cool to connect on the go and even more gratifying knowing I’m not paying for a monthly data plan!
To start with, make sure you child has their own email address. They don’t need to check it, but it is needed for setting up their Apple account. If you want them to be able to have their own apps and their own music, make sure you connect the iPod to their own unique Apple ID.
Under Settings there are some great options for protecting your child. You can dig in to privacy options, how much time they can spend on the device, whether they can purchase apps or in-app purchases and more.