I’d like to share why we went with Pinwheel for our kids first phone and hope you’ll find it useful and informative for making a decision for your kids. (Pst: There’s also a Pinwheel Discount Code make sure you click that link to save 10% and your discount will show in your cart at checkout!)
After a year of research and searching, we finally decided on a Pinwheel phone for the first phone for our kids (you know, after the played with old dead phones for years). It hasn’t been an easy decision, but the kids are happy with the Pinwheel and so are we. We are paying customers first and used the phone for a while before writing about it and sharing about it.
So, what’s a caregiver to do? Should you go with a basic flip phone (did you know these can still access the internet) go with a smartphone that comes with a wide range of tech challenges, like managing screen time or preventing contact with predators? We definitely considered all of these options.
I was pretty happy when I discovered Pinwheel and continued to read more and learn more about it before making a decision. (Yes, I sometimes have research and decisions paralysis).
Pinwheel is a smartphone designed for kids by parents who weren’t happy with the tech options already out there. The Pinwheel phone is more than just a smartphone, it’s a tool created to help you and your family introduce technology to your kids and teens in a healthy, non-addictive way.
What Makes Pinwheel Different
The caregiver console (available both for desktop as well as an app) is basically the hub for all things Pinwheel for the caregiver. I like the inclusivity here in not calling it a parent console.
In the Dashboard, you have the location of the Pinwheel/child, battery status and the storage used on the phone.
Days/Modes allows the caregiver to activate schedules as well as which apps and contacts can be used at certain times. In school, during the day, maybe you only want emergency contacts to be able to come through. You can also allow certain apps while disallowing others on a schedule.
Routines allows for setting things like “wake up” or “bedtime routine” and a checklist for a child to complete. These can be edited depending on the needs of the family.
Curated Apps is where the caregiver can activate and set modes for various apps that pinwheel has approved. Pinwheel also very clearly marks if there is a recommended age range for an app and if there is a parent warning for potential loopholes. This allows caregivers to make the best decision for them and the child.
Pinwheel’s Appstore, which is only shown to parents and caregivers, has been carefully curated and approved by a board of child and family therapists so you know your little one can safely navigate their apps unsupervised.
Some apps include Calculator, alarm, Google Calendar, Amazon music, Bark, Google Maps, and more, but only if caregiver enables them.
The Phone History is where caregivers can see a complete history of all text messages and phone calls sent and received.
If a text message comes through from an unapproved contact (more on that below), it will show in the “needs review” tab only for the caregiver. Some of the text messages that come through on that tab are wow!
Other times, it’s a friend who got a new phone or a new contact and they reach out. I am able to approve them on the spot.
This has also been a great way to introduce texting etiquette. When my daughter gets a news message that says “yo” and no name or anything, she has realized how important it is to make sure you know who is sending a message. Especially a new contact. (I don’t approve the “yos” or “hellos” until we know who the person is.)
This is also a good place to note that yes, Group Messaging does work. BUT, all of the contacts have to be added to the Pinwheel.
Images are optional when it comes to text messages. Caregivers are given the opportunity to decide if their child can send and receive images within text messages.
Contacts are added via the caregiver console for a safelist of contacts and can be put into categories for use with the modes. Additionally, say a kid wants to add a new contact. They can add them via the pinwheel and it is sent to the “needs approval” tab for the caregiver. Usually, my daughter just sends me a quick note that she’s added a new contact and to please approve it.
A Real Solution
Pinwheel has been designed to evolve and grow alongside your child. Pinwheel’s Operating System upgrades over stage and age development. Even since we’ve had the Pinwheel there have been updates including group messaging and an updated home screen.
No internet browser and no social media
This was a big one for us! We didn’t want the girls scrolling mindlessly on social media or having open access to the internet. It’s scary out there!
I know they will see things and find things, but this can help them grow with the phone and help with conversations.
With an agreement with Bark, monitoring on your Pinwheel phone is $5/month. Bark uses AI to monitor text messages, kids messenger and even photos for anything harmful, bullying, drugs and more.
Cost of Pinwheel and Pinwheel discount code
For the Pinwheel phone you will pay:
- the price of the Pinwheel phone (use this link to save 10%…you have to use this link to get the discount-the discount will show in your cart at checkout) which varies depending on the model.
- Monthly cell plan. You select the carrier from options like Verizon, T-mobile and Mint Mobile. We went with Mint Mobile’s 4GB/month plan. Because there is so little data used, 4GB/month is more than enough. You can use our Mint Mobile referral code to save $15 off your bill! (How I wish I had that when we set things up.)
- $15/month for pinwheel caregiver dashboard (subsequent phones receive a decreased monthly charge)
Order Pinwheel with Pinwheel Discount Code
You can order your very own Pinwheel, as well as access a number of other valuable family and tech resources, here and save 10% on your Pinwheel phone order. Discount will show in your cart at checkout.
We’ve been very happy with the Pinwheel phone for our kids. After reading countless stories of parents and caregivers having to go from an iPhone to a Pinwheel because of dangerous conversations and habits, I’m very happy to have Pinwheel as an option.