The phone is called 1stFone, it’s the size of a credit card and only ways 40g. The phone doesn’t have a screen, it can only make and receive calls to0 and from up to 12 select numbers an adult has chosen, with absolutely no text or internet it’s a good idea for an introduction to mobile phones, in theory.
The grey area for me personally is the target market, OwnFone have aimed the 1stFone at children aged four to nine years old.
Four years old?! I don’t know any four year old that is away from their parent and needs to call them, I think this is way too young to be introducing a child to a mobile device however basic it may be.
I understand the demand for it as a child starts playing out with friends and is gaining their independence it’s a great way for them to let their family know they’re safe without the temptation of inappropriate apps and internet access.
One of the main reasons parents are attracted to this is the obvious lower risks of their child being subjected to cyber bullying, the phones founder and inventor Thomas Sunderland had this to say “Parents can stay in touch with their child even if they are as young as four without putting them at risk from sexting, text bullying, stumbling across inappropriate images on the internet or even being mugged for their smartphone.“It’s up to the parent at what age they feel their child needs to be contactable, we just want to ensure when that time comes, there’s a product that minimises usage and poses no threat or danger to their safety”.
The last part it where I agree with Thomas, the phone is a custom built unit bought directly from the website, only a parent or guardian can buy it and customize it. A four year old child cant waddle into a shop and buy this for his or herself, it’s completely down the parents and I don’t think we’re going to see a huge increase of toddlers with mobiles any time soon.