It use to be you learned to crawl, before you could walk and then run.
Well today, while tots and teens begin to become mobile, they're also
learning how to use a mobile. Kids born after the year 2000 might end
up being called the 'Tiny Texters' generation as their passion
to text is keen. Parents might not agree, but as we all know peer
pressure in our formative years becomes the driving force behind these
types of purchases, and Mom and Dad more often than naught usually
succumb to the demands of their offspring!
This CBS Report was an informative analysis of some of the decision-making that parents should consider when their kids begin to start asking for their first cell phone.
Once you have decided that a purchase is inevitable, here is a list of the TOP TEN mobile phones on the market today available for your child based on their age range.
1- Text and Learn
Leapfrog's Text and Learn device is a $22 toy that looks like a cellphone. It has a 'qwerty' keyboard and LCD screen. Built-in programs are gaged for 3- to 6-year-olds and include spelling and shape games. This 'pretend' mobile is really the starter device to prepare your child for a lifelong interaction with texting. (Available here.)
2- Imaginarium Mo1
Imaginarium has created a super-small pre-paid mobile phone, the Mo1, designed for kids 6-12 years old. In addition to the call and hangup buttons, there are keys to cycle through the phone book and two dedicated keys for "mom" and "dad". It's in the $75 range.
The i-Kids is a good idea for worried parents. Its unique child-tracking service is configured via the Internet that will for eight hours of the day record the location of your child at ten minute intervals.The phone is also designed with limited call capabilities and four
numbered buttons, of which three can be allocated to the phone by the
parent together with a fifth ‘hunt group’ button and functionality that
the child can use to get help at any time..
Here is a cute animated video that demonstrates tracking and tracking features of the phone. A bit pricey in the $299 range.
4- Bratz Mobile
This is a Sony Ericsson T290z phone with a Bratz makeover. Its a prepay phone, so there is no monthly bill and no activation fee. It offers parental controls. Young girls can customized their phones with the exclusive Bratz wallpapers featuring JADE, CLOE, YASMIN and SASHA and voice ring tones by ROXXI and SASHA. Approximately $70 at Walmart Stores.
The glowPhone features a full color screen, built in games, customizable ringtones and wallpapers. It can store up to 50 programmed numbers and all calls in and out can be controlled by a parental password. In the $50 range. There is currently a "free phone" promo available online. You can receive a free Firefly glowPhone when you purchase any eight Kellogg’s®, Keebler®, Sunshine® and/or Eggo® products. The promo started in August, 2009.
Designed for the 10 year olds+ set, you can use the flyPhone to make calls, play games, take pictures, listen to mp3's, watch videos, and text. It features a unique electro-luminescent morphing keypad that automatically switches between game controller, mp3 or video controller and number pad. It includes built-in games, ringtones, wallpapers and sample music and video for customization.Pay as you go plans help parents control costs. Pricing starts in the $80 range. (Available here.)
TICTALK by Enforma looks rugged, like a jogger’s stopwatch. It’s designed for kids age 6 and up and comes loaded with five educational games from LeapFrog, including Hangman, Math Defender and Monkey Math. Parents go online to add or delete numbers and to adjust parental controls. You can decide which calls are allowed through and what times of day.The TICTALK is $99 and available online at Leapfrog.
8- Disney D100
Observing the increasing number of 8 to 13 year olds using mobile phones, Disney has designed a mobile phone especially for that age group. Simple keypad with Mickey Mouse-shaped answer and reject buttons, and for the elders, parental control that lets you prevent changes to the phone like adding contacts,or limiting the call times. There is also a feature to prevent the phone from ringing during school hours! A virtual timer feature allows you to set a quota for their call times that they should not exceed.Can be found in the $50+ range.
9- Migo phone / LG
The Migo is a bright green phone designed for kids between the ages of 5 and 9. It has five speed-dial buttons on the front (one is designated for emergency calls) that you can program via the Internet or on the handset. When a child pushes one of the buttons a question pops up on the screen – for instance: call home? If that’s right, they push send and the call is made. The phone costs US $149.99 with a 1-year service agreement with Verizon, or $99.99 for a 2-year contract. (Available here.)
10- DM P100 Disney Mobile
This phone's sleek silver design provides a grown-up feel for kids heading into their teens. The DM P100 from Disney Mobile comes with lots of fun content for kids to download to their Disney cell phone, including Disney wallpapers, color themes, ringtones, and down-loadable images.It provides a GPS Child Locator service via Pantech DM-P100. The features include a silver exterior, color screen, camera, external display to view caller ID, date, and time, speakerphone, 3.5 hours of usage time, and 15 days of standby time. The phone costs $149.99 with $90.00 Instant Rebate. Two-year contacts are required.
Does a child really need a cell phone? Only you can decide what’s right for your family. But clearly cell phone manufacturers see a growing market and are marketing up a storm to attract younger and younger texters into the fold. So take our poll and let us know which mobile you will be purchasing for the "Tiny Texter" in your life!