TextNow – Unlimited Text & Phone Service App (Rated 12+, Social Networking)

TextNow has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, with an increasing number of individuals migrating for unrestricted service. TextNow provides complimentary messages and calls over WiFi, so you don’t have to pay for calls at home or on a public WiFi network. The provider also offers data plans, with an unlimited deal starting at $39.99 monthly.

The basic TextNow program, which allows you to make and receive free calls and texts via WiFi, is entirely free. The caveat is that you’ll need a new number provided when you download the program.

You may assign a different ringtone to each contact so you know who is calling without glancing at your phone. It also supports call forwarding, voicemail transcripts, and complete support for GIFs, Emojis, and Stickers.

What Makes TextNow Free?

The TextNow app is free since it is ad-supported and contains some advertisements. You can always pay for a paid plan along with data options.

Does TextNow Work on My Computer?

TextNow, like WhatsApp and Signal, has created a PC/Mac-based online application that allows you to conveniently create, receive, and manage your messages from your laptop or PC. You can start a note on your computer and pick it up on your phone.

TextNow also supports video calling, allowing you to communicate with friends during lockdowns or if they live abroad. Video calling on TextNow, like texting and calling, is free.

What Should Parents Know About The App?

Utilize For Isolating Phone And Messaging Services

A service like TextNow would be excellent for a child’s phone if you wanted them only to have access to a phone and messaging service. Likewise, if you have a teenager at home and aren’t sure you want them to have a smartphone, you could install TextNow on an old or unused phone. This would provide them with free phone calls and messages, yet give you the ability to restrict their internet access and other functions on their phone.

Parental Controls

The TextNow app does not feature parental controls.

Potential Problems

Presents A Risk For Undetected Use

Given the enormously easy accessibility of services through the TextNow app, your child or teen can use the phone and messaging services discreetly. A complimentary local phone number can be obtained (as long as there is access to a WiFi connection) and used to make calls and send text messages to other people. This does not require a payment method or other form of verification that a child or teen would have to consult an adult about if they were seeking a workaround.


TextNow’s inexpensive service and data plans may be a beneficial alternative for your child or teen’s first phone and messaging service. As you and your child go through this process together, your focus will probably be less on the quality of their provider services and more on their ability to respect limits and communicate appropriately.

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About the Author

Clayton Cranford
Clayton Cranford is a retired Sergeant from Orange County Sheriff's Department in California and owner of Total Safety Solutions LLC. Clayton is one of the nation’s leading law enforcement educators on social media, child safety, and behavioral threat assessments. Clayton is the author of the definitive book on cyber safety for families, “Parenting in the Digital World.” Clayton has more than 20 years of teaching experience and was awarded the 2015 National Bullying Prevention Award from the School Safety Advocacy Council, and the 2015 American Legion Medal of Merit. Clayton was a member of the County's Behavioral Threat Assessment Team, Crisis Negotiation Team, School Resource Officer program, and Juvenile Bureau.