Phone=text and Calls ONLY?

Updated on July 31, 2012
F.H. asks from Gilbert, AZ
23 answers

We are considering getting our 16, 12 and 9 yo phones. The 16 yo is mentally retarded, the 12 yo is an Aspie and ADD and the 9 yo is ADHD. They don't have phones now. I'm wondering if there is a phone that can ONLY make calls and text. We don't want a camera or internet access. And ideally, not pay as you go. Anyone have any ideas?

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So What Happened?

To answer Tracyxo, my step daughter is medically diagnosed as MOMR, moderately retarded. She was considered Cerybral Palsey (sp?) which is CP and autistic and MIMR, mildly retarded. About 3 years ago CP was dropped as well as autistic and she was moved from MIMR to MOMR, which is now her "official" diagnosis. She is permanently disabled from her immunization shot when she was 16 months. An "Aspie" is someone who has Asperger's Disorder.

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answers from Eugene on

My son just got an inexpensive tmobile phone. It has a camera but no internet. Prepaid, unlimited texting for $15/mo. He's adding 150 minutes of phone calling for $30 prepaid good for 3 months.

I'm wondering if it is possible to disable the camera somehow....

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

yes there are phones out there that don't have a camera or need data packages.. You can also put ristrictions on them so the only people they can call or text are the people you put in the phone..

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from St. Louis on

I think every phone has a camera however crappy some may be. So long as you don't pay for data all a phone has is phone and text.

The biggest thing I have found with my older kids and phones is make sure their friends have phones before you get them one. They lose their heads if they aren't attached unless they have a reason to be bonded to their phone, ya know friends, they will lose that as well.

Oh, if you don't have unlimited text they usually block camera texts if that is what you are worried about.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

check out the pay-as-you-go-phones at target or wherever. They are very cheap and basic. They won't have internet access unless you purchase it. And you might be able to turn off the other stuff.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

We have Verizon as a carrier.
You can get a non camera version of a Motorola Barrage.
My husband works on military bases and they don't like cameras.
(As it is it sounds like some bases will ban cell phones altogether since they are becoming smart little computers that are too big of a security risk.)
At any rate, it's a basic phone (no data plan), you can order it with no camera and it's waterproof!
It's a pretty rugged phone - my husband puts his through a lot.
He texts well with it but I don't like it myself because I like a qwerty keyboard.

LG Cosmos 2 has a nice slide out keyboard and it has a camera.
It's still a basic phone that needs no data plan.
I guess you could always super glue something over the camera lens and it would be effectively disabled.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I don't believe you will find a phone without a camera. Honestly, I don't think those exist. However, you CAN get one without the internet. I have one. It's the cheapo phone that comes with a plan. There is an option to use the internet, but I don't buy the media plan. I tried it one day after i bought it to make sure.It really didn't connect to the internet.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

There use to be the firefly phone or something like that. You had to store in the only numbers that could be called and I think the max was 4 or 5. It did nothing else but receive and allow restricted calls to be made. Not sure if they still make it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

My 11 year old has ADHD and ODD, and we got her a phone when she turned 11 last year and entered middle school. She has a limited number of minutes and a limited number of texts. Her phone does have a camera, but it's very basic. We got it added to our Verizon plan. It's a great little phone and easy to use.

My 9 year old has been asking for a phone because big sister has one, but I told her that she has to be 11 years old and in middle school first. She has Autism, but isn't an Aspie. She's great with technology but mainly loves cell phones for the games on them. She would never call or text anyone, the little goober.

My 7 year old doesn't care yet, but she'll get a phone at the same time that my eldest did.

It's when there are more after school activities and they do more with friends where I'm not around and there aren't phones readily available to them. I try not to hover but with a special needs daughter I sometimes can't help it, but I do want them to have a measure of personal responsibility and not feel smothered.

P.S. For the person shocked about the usage of the phrase mentally retarded... I wonder why it shocks you. It's a legitimate medical diagnosis and when it's used appropriately it's not an insult or an epithet. And Aspie is a term of endearment for someone who has Asperger's Disorder, which is a form of Autism. In fact, many autistics who have Asperger's refer to themselves as Aspies.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

We have Sprint, and that is pretty much the phone I wanted. Well, I like the camera option, but that's it. I do not want/need internet.

I went to the store last week, and the trend is definitely the Smart Phone. I was able to get a phone with a keyboard (and a camera) that can get on the internet (in theory, I cannot imagine it actually working - slow as molasses), but is not a Smart Phone.

They also had very basic phones with a number pad. I don't think these phones are going anywhere anytime soon, as there are plenty of senior citizens who just want a cell phone.

I would go to a Sprint or Verizon or whatever store and talk to the sales person there. I'm sure they will be able to help you find one that fits your needs.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Go to Wal-Mart and look at their selection. They have pay-as-you go.

Also check out Radio Shack. I'm NOT sure if they have PAYG but never hurts to ask.

My husband has an OLD phone - no camera - it's an LG.....try ebay.

this is my husband's phone:

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I don't know that you can get a phone that's easy to text with that won't have a camera. You may be able to disable it however.
As far as Internet, you can have them block that. that's what I do with my kids' phones.
Go Online to whoever your carrier is and research phones - they also have the chats where you could ask or just go into a store.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boise on

The Firefly may be your best bet.

Most phone company's are phasing out 'traditional' phones. In the not to distant future the only phone option will be smart phones. Having said that most phones don't have to have internet. Just don't buy a data package and only get standard service with texting.

As for a camera, not sure why you don't want them to have one, but it may be possible to have find a really cheap phone in the pay as you go area. A lot of those phones can be used as regular phone. They aren't restricted to pay as you go only.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

Our oldest three have phones. We have AT&T. We were able to block data, which included pictures, video etc. Their phones have cameras in them, but they can't send or receive pictures. When someone tries to send them one, it comes up as an empty message.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I had this phone up til a couple of weeks ago. It is similar to the phone my stepson had as his first phone. I bought the phone from Motorola and transferred my SIM to it. I will say that the speaker is not great quality, but if they are not using speakerphone and just need to make calls, it is a serviceable phone. If you need to do a lot of texting, they may want a phone with a keypad (but that will likely have other features, like camera) as this one you have to press the button til you get the letter you want. Far as the internet, etc., you can only use what you pay for, so don't pay for internet access.

I also didn't know they still had these but check out Firefly or similar:

It doesn't look like either has a camera.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

There are cheap phones with no camera. As for internet access... I have our's blocked through the carrier.

Good luck on what you decide to do.
Feel free to message me.

Dawn in Az

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I have Sprint, and this is what my phone does except it has a camera. Yippee, I get lovely black photos of the inside of my purse. But there is no way to get them off of the that might be a good safety feature if you need it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I would try Wal-Mart.

They have "Go" phones matched to your carrier.

You can find the most basic phone w/o a camera, no apps & no internet access.

They have some pre-paid phones. Ask if they have a pre-paid "Go" phone.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Just a thought....

For your eldest and Aspie kids call/text is probably the BEST way to go (Oy, ESP if your Aspie is anything like my son's bestie or my neice who are both technowhizzes who hacked the computers in their smart phones), but you may want to reconsider for your ADHD kiddo. Totally get if you need them all to match... But just to consider;

I'm ADHD-c as is my son. I take pictures if all my important paperwork (so I never lose it), my homework assignments, and things I just need to remember visually. My iCalendar has EVERYTHINg on it (with alarms), my notepad has dozens of notes. My voice notes I use to record lectures, assignments, reminders, and verbal instructions. My alarm clock is set to music to wake me up over the corse of an hour without annoying everyone else.

My iPhone has been the BEST ADHD "look normal" tool I've ever come across. I've never been more on time, organized, or (insert word for 'not forgetting important things, or key details) in. My. Entire. Life.

My 10yo ADHD son has had his own iPhone for several years. He's never had to bumble along without one, really. I WISH his school would let him use it for notes in school. I'm working on IEP'ing that, actually.

They're dirt cheap. A previous gen iPhone is $1. And only $10 a month in a family plan. You can SHUT OFF every single feature you don't want to allow in parental controls (also limit - by use/type, time limits : including multiple limits, Luke not from 8am-230pm and not after 10pm until 6am-, age, etc.)

What's restricted doesn't even show up in the screen. What's limited (like if you allow g rated movies only, and only from 4pm-6pm) still shows up, but won't connect until the limitations are met.

Huh. HONESTLY.... Massive restrictions on 2 phones, and then ADHD tools allowed on phone 3 would let them all 'match', but have different things specialized for each kid. All for $3. Plus the GPS and 'find my phone' would come with, unlike burner phones.

Just something to consider.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

They still sell them so you should just contact your current cell phone provider. My MIL doesn't like all the extra stuff they have now and just has a basic cell phone they we got her about a year ago.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

A basic, non-smartphone flip phone is exactly that. They usually have cameras, but the quality is so bad that I doubt anyone will take pictures with them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Even the cheap phones have cameras on them so I don't think you can get away from that but you can get ones that don't have internet on them. Since they do have learning disability and spelling may be an issue for some if not all to text I would suggest a phone with a keyboard for texting. I know it's made a big difference with my boys being able to text easily.

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answers from Houston on

Walmart would be ideal to take a look at.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

wow. I didn't know people said mentally retarded anymore and I've never heard anyone referred to as an aspie. I don't know what to say about that.

There is a phone called a firefly. It has a family tracker on it and is easy to use - intended for kids.

1 mom found this helpful
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