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PAYG or Contract for a Child’s SIM

Which is best?

When we started ParentShield, we asked ourselves this question. Which is better for a Child’s SIM card – Pay As You Go ( PAYG ) or Contract? Both have merits and it’s a question we are asked most weeks. We are asked for both PAYG and Contract SIM cards so which is best? ParentShield has both a Rolling-Monthly SIM-Only contract, Professional Plans for children in care and a PAYG SIM plan designed for care users that we think provides the best of both worlds.

Mother and child with a child's first mobile phone

PAYG SIM for a Child

Pay as you go is appealing; because when you give a phone to a young child, you genuinely have no idea what will happen. It could be a desire that is soon forgotten. The phone itself can get lost, or left uncharged at the bottom of a school bag for months. It’s natural to be wary of being tied into a long contract for a service that isn’t being used.

The downside of PAYG is it will work out expensive for high users. You will be topping up every month. Even when the bundle amount is exhausted you are left with a painful or expensive choice. With a normal network your alternatives are to leave the phone unable to phone home, or top up at high call and SMS rates. You also have to try and manage the top-up process remotely. With an adult using PAYG, you can easily reach for your credit card, or dial the PAYG topup number and use your PIN to top up. A child using the phone, probably, or actually hopefully, won’t have their parents’ credit card handy all the time.

ParentShield PAYG allows for one home landline number that will always work for emergency calls as long as there is credit on the SIM – although there is of course a reasonable fair use policy.

Contract SIM for a Child

Contract SIM – that re-bills automatically every month cures many of the problems found with a PAYG SIM. For example, the SIM can have unlimited calls or SMS, and there is no need to remember to top up. No chance that the credit will all be gone, just at the time they need to call you!

The worry about being tied into a long contract is a real one. Even SIM-Only, all networks will do a 12, 18, 24 or even 36-month SIM-only contract.

ParentShield Rolling-Monthly SIM contract for a Child

At ParentShield we have attempted to produce the elusive ‘best of both worlds’ in our child-safe SIM tariffs. They are Rolling-Monthly contracts so customers are free to cancel at any time. For the most part we rarely insist on a full 30 days notice like other Networks do. We appreciate the difficulties and joys of providing a SIM for a child, and we understand!

Where a phone is temporarily unneeded, we can easily ‘suspend’ the service. Typically this might be a period of confiscation, or a cool holiday. Even for as long as six months we can pause , and then resume things where they left off. This means your child keeps the same number and settings. You simply power the phone back on and email us at and it’s working again within seconds – carrying over any unused allowances from the previous period.

We have four Rolling Monthly Child-Safe SIM packages for children under 13 to choose from. See all the child-safe SIM deals here plus a couple of higher usage tariffs with more data for older users in this group.

ParentShield Pro Contracts for Children in Care

For Children in care or special needs users beyond the age suitable for Safe Stage plans, ParentShield Pro Plans are available. These use a UK native SIM for improved tracking from within the ParentShield Portal, have Higher usage limits and allow for the extra care that these users require

The Power of the Portal

Unlike ‘Normal’ networks, with ParentShield it’s you who controls the network. Every customer has a powerful ParentShield Portal that allows you to control your Child’s SIM in unique ways. As well as using it to review call and SMS recordings, it allows detailed Block and Allow lists to be created. Time Controls determine when the phone can be used and Word Alerts can be set. All the features are described in detail in the Portal-Guide.

Portal guide settings switched updated October 2022
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