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December 01, 2005

Teddyfone - Another Cellphone For Kids Under 10

by Darla Mack

Teddyfone1Earlier this year, I spoke on "How Young is Too Young for Cellphones".  I've tried my best not to be too controversial regarding the marketing of the Firefly which Cingular has now picked up.  But this new Teddyfone is definitely something that struck my attention, mainly because of the age that its being marketed for. 

If you happen to check out the Teddyfone website you will see the image of a girl, apparently no older than 4, with her Teddyfone.  What you also see is the mention of Child Safety.  Now the Child Safety thing is a plus and the fact that the fone comes with a free subscription to KidsOK.net tracking service is good, but what I still can't figure out is... where are these kids under 10 that they have the need for a cell phone?   

I guess maybe I'm speaking more on the lines of a parent then a consumer.  But what is the message that this sends out?  Trust me, I am in now way an advocate of perfect parenting (recalls the time that her son rolled off the bed because pillows weren't properly placed.)

As open as I am to mobile technology and the signs of things to come, this is just one of those things that I will never be able to grasp.

Teddyfone is currently available in the UK.  Wonder how long it will be before it or something like it his US soil.

via:  CoolSmartphone.com


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A lot of people have the wrong idea of Teddyfone. The unit is not a "phone" as such, it is an emergency communications product that uses mobile phone technology. The child cannot walk around all day with a Teddyfone against his/her ear chatting to their friends or sending and receiving text messages. Three numbers are put into the Teddyfone on a fixed dial list, the list is meant to be populated with the numbers of adults who need to know that the child is in distress an the event of an emergency or under threat. The numbers are pre-programmed into the Teddyfone by text message (which does NOT show on the Teddyfone!). At the push of a button, the child can call any of the numbers on the list AND NO OTHERS. Calls can only be made TO the Teddyfone by people with the number of the unit, there is no way that this number can be accessed as there is no screen on the Teddyfone. But by far the biggest plusses for this unit are; the ability for the child to discreetly send a distress call with a single button push, the ability for the Teddyfone to be answered automatically WITHOUT RINGING if called by a parent who can then listen to what is happening in the immediate vicinity of the child, a simple and economical tracking service which places the Teddyfone on a map to within a few hundred yards. The units are designed to be low radiation and probably give lower doses of microwaves to a user than the phone masts and access points which are springing up everywhere. The peace of mind given by a Teddyfone and it's value in the event of an emergency far outweigh it's down sides as far as I am concerned. My grand-daughter has a Teddyfone and shall continue to have a Teddyfone....... thankfully, she has never had the need to use it and I hope she never does.

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