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March 16, 2005 5:59 AM   Subscribe

I dont know whether to be upset or envious? Dont know about the kid market but i could totally see this for "older" (read my mom) consumers.
posted by ShawnString (48 comments total)

 
i just got my mom a cell phone (her first one ever) and her criteria was she wanted something with big buttons. this actually could have worked for her.
posted by ShawnString at 6:00 AM on March 16, 2005


Why, why do little kids need cell phones?!
posted by fossil_human at 6:09 AM on March 16, 2005


Isn't it pretty well proven that mobile phones fry little kids heads?
posted by fshgrl at 6:09 AM on March 16, 2005


I've got a slogan...

watch their little glials fry.
Buy your kids a FireFly
Microwave their tiny heads
In child friendly shades of red.

Gooooo! FireFly.


As you can probably tell, I think this is a bad idea.
posted by seanyboy at 6:10 AM on March 16, 2005


I'm thinking we should just embed the electronics in their little heads when they are born....

and, while we are at it, do they make tiny taser units???

but, as mentioned it is a great idea for the older crowd, my inlaws who are 85 and 86 could never master a regular cell phone...this would work for them!
posted by HuronBob at 6:14 AM on March 16, 2005


From the phone's *documentation*...
What about children using wireless phones? The scientific evidence does not show a danger to users of wireless phones, including children and teenagers.
So, that's OK then. Perfectly safe. Nothing to worry about. No sirree, nothing at all.
posted by seanyboy at 6:14 AM on March 16, 2005


Featuring five cool colors, including delicious PepsiBlue!
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:17 AM on March 16, 2005


snarktacular comments, lovely.

Sadly, there are many busy people that will need these phones to keep in touch with their children, and the privacy screening on these is a relief to many parents. The general necessity for these would be for coordinating rapid schedule changes and in emergencies. Change the roots of the alienation that causes a need for some kids to have cell phones.
posted by By The Grace of God at 6:24 AM on March 16, 2005


Given that world+dog has a mobile phone by now, if there was a genuine danger associated with normal use people would be dropping like flies all around us, wouldn't they?

This seems like a good "kid-safe" idea in that the phone is limited to dialing numbers in memory (apparently), and you can block incoming calls from numbers that aren't registered. I'd say that this would make a good phone for emergency use.
posted by clevershark at 6:26 AM on March 16, 2005


Sadly, there are many busy people that will need these phones to keep in touch with their children
I'm sure, but is it best of the web or plain product placement?

I would have fancied it had it had big number buttons and less imaccy colors.
posted by dabitch at 6:28 AM on March 16, 2005


Out of curiosity, why is it that for at least half the FPPs some people feel the need to complain about the FPP itself (as in "it's not 'best of the web'")? Is there a category of people out there who somehow have to pay money for each FPP posted?
posted by clevershark at 6:33 AM on March 16, 2005


What if Johnny has Two Daddies? Can you swap out one of the buttons?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:39 AM on March 16, 2005


sorry people, I guess it's contagious since I've never actually done that before, I will now return to my "ignore the postings I don't care for" tactic. Carry on.
posted by dabitch at 6:40 AM on March 16, 2005


there are many busy people that will need these phones to keep in touch with their children

How times change. When I was a kid we weren't allowed to call our parents at work unless we were on fire.
posted by fshgrl at 6:42 AM on March 16, 2005


What about children using wireless phones? The scientific evidence does not show a danger to users of wireless phones, including children and teenagers.
So, that's OK then. Perfectly safe. Nothing to worry about. No sirree, nothing at all.


This actually kind of pisses me off. What are you saying here, "absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence"? That's a great stance to have; we should fear everything, since no one has proven that, for instance, cardboard boxes don't cause AIDS.

There have been a couple of studies that have shown a possible weak link between brain cancer and cell phone use, but there have been far more studies done since then that have shown no such connection. It's almost as silly as the kind of people who won't immunize their children for fear of autism, or the kind of people who still think mental illnesses are caused by the moon.
posted by Plutor at 6:48 AM on March 16, 2005


Great. Now, I'll have to listen to even shriller, more nonsensical voices barking into cell phones on the train/street/etc.

Thanks a lot, technology!
posted by jonmc at 6:55 AM on March 16, 2005


How young are the kids who will use these phones? Even a six or seven year old can figure out how to use a regular phone, and probably figure it out faster than their grandparents. Even that is a pretty tender age for a cell phone. Regardless of the danger or not of little kids using cell phones this one seems like a non-starter to me. By the way, great poem seanyboy.
posted by caddis at 7:04 AM on March 16, 2005


Hell, I want one of these phones. Do you know how happy I'd be if I could actually purchase a simple phone that makes and receives calls with a minimum of features? I'd trade my VX4500 in for one of these right now if I could.

Is that an MMC card I see inside? If it just had bluetooth so I could manage the phone book from a computer, I'd be completely satisfied.

(i don't think it's such a great idea for little kids to have cellphones in general, but I didn't know we were complaining about the marketing of the technology instead of the technology itself, which is just a slimmed-down phone.)
posted by odinsdream at 7:14 AM on March 16, 2005


Putting myself in the shoes of my parents when I was young and living in NYC, this would have been great to have even as just an emergency beacon.

Going to be a few minutes late to pick me up after school? Give a call. Sending a family friend to pick me up? Give a call, or have me give a call when the family friend arrived, to confirm that I was being picked up. Get approached by someone strange while playing in the school yard? Give a call.

If these things catch on, I doubt it will be long before we hear about them saving a child from abduction or violence.

Perhaps there's a risk of over dependence on the thing, but this is otherwise a great idea for parents that don't think their 4th grader should have a regular mobile phone, but don't want to pass up safety and communications options offered by advances in technology.
posted by VulcanMike at 7:20 AM on March 16, 2005


...her criteria was she wanted something with big buttons.

Hey, I'm with your mom on that. I hate cell phones. I hate everything about them. But I especially hate that the buttons are so ridiculously tiny and that I have to dial the frigging thing with my thumbnail.
posted by 327.ca at 7:25 AM on March 16, 2005


There have been a couple of studies that have shown a possible weak link between brain cancer and cell phone use, but there have been far more studies done since then that have shown no such connection. It's almost as silly as the kind of people who won't immunize their children for fear of autism, or the kind of people who still think mental illnesses are caused by the moon.

The Times Jan 12 2005:
Mobile Phones Tumor Risk to Young Children
"...CHILDREN under the age of eight should not use mobile phones, parents were advised last night after an authoritative report linked heavy use to ear and brain tumours and concluded that the risks had been underestimated by most scientists.

Professor Sir William Stewart, chairman of the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB), said that evidence of potentially harmful effects had become more persuasive over the past five years...
posted by talos at 7:27 AM on March 16, 2005


Hey HuronBob! Does the implant broadcast their GPS coordinates or blood-alcohol level? Cuz put me on the waiting list if it does.
posted by sexymofo at 7:31 AM on March 16, 2005


How long until Firefly sells the list of phone numbers to advertisers? This could be better than Saturday morning cartoon time for them.

On preview: I'm so cynical.

But so right
posted by poppo at 7:33 AM on March 16, 2005


>Every Firefly phone is as unique as the kid who uses it.

Bwahaha. Technically true. All too true.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:43 AM on March 16, 2005


talos -- the key phrase in your quote is "heavy use", I think. If a parent can limit the built-in directory to emergency numbers this is unlikely to be an issue, at least less so than on phones where a child may dial freely. At least that's my take on those.
posted by clevershark at 7:49 AM on March 16, 2005


odinsdream: Probably a SIM card rather than an MMC chip - looks like it's a GSM phone, which kind of makes sense (how else can the protected numbers be added to the phone, if there are no number keys? Remove SIM, program it, insert back into phone.)

Given the size of the phone that's too small to be an MMC anyway.

I don't know. This really does seem like a good idea - I wouldn't want a kid old enough to go out with friends but too young to be responsible to have a full-function phone. This looks like it's the easiest way to lock in a few numbers and block incomings, with no extra fees for text messages, IM, photo emails, etc. - the kind of things that kids do incessantly without realizing (or caring) how fast the bills add up for mom and dad. Until any kid of mine could afford to pay their own cellular bill, I'd be happy to stick them with this. I could call them, they could call me, etc. with no fear of overuse of the extras.

Heck, my brother-in-law could use one of these. He has no clue how to manage his phone, he racked up a $2000 bill (including overdue bill charges) the last time he was left on his own with a cell.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:50 AM on March 16, 2005


I am guessing it will take the average kid about a week to figure out how to buy another SIM card, program it on a friends phone and make calls to their hearts content. Or to the limit of their finances anyway.
posted by fshgrl at 7:52 AM on March 16, 2005


I'm just amazed that the G3 iMac is still informing industrial design 3 years after its cancellation.

My take on little kids with cell phones? Parents-- be prepared to replace the thing once a week. My 13-year-olds just got cell phones, and have lost them repeatedly, that is, when they haven't been taken away for behaving stupidly with them. I can well imagine how difficult it'd be to get a 7-year-old to keep up with one.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:07 AM on March 16, 2005


I am guessing it will take the average kid about a week to figure out how to buy another SIM card, program it on a friends phone and make calls to their hearts content. Or to the limit of their finances anyway.

The average five-to-seven year old kid? Most five year olds I know are still struggling with the "how-to-tie-my-own-shoelaces" bit.

Everyone's comment have sort of convinced me of its safety features, but I still feel uneasy about kids that young having cell phones. Plus, I'm a lesbian... can my kid switch out the "Dad" button?
posted by arcticwoman at 8:18 AM on March 16, 2005


<SPAN CLASS="snark">People who can't master small, whole integers shouldn't be allowed to make phone calls anyway.</SPAN>
posted by gimonca at 9:00 AM on March 16, 2005


Plutor: Somewhere in the middle, between "Buy our completely safe product", and "Phone users will definitely get cancer" is the truth. As the phone companies are quite happy to spew out *research* that coincidental validates their bottom line, then I too am happy to take a more extreme Point of View. I agree with you in that my comments were not logical, but what puzzles me is that you're happier to succumb to the rhetoric and hyperbole spouted by a phone company (who are definitely biased) than you are to succumb to the rhetoric and hyperbole spouted by me.
posted by seanyboy at 9:00 AM on March 16, 2005


Lots of kids have cell phones. Especially for children whose parents are divorced, cell phones make it easier to manage schedules, and they introduce a big safety factor.

I really wish somebody would design cell hones for old farts, with big buttons/big type, simple interface, and volume that goes to at least 11. The flashing light when it rings would help Mom find it in her purse, too. damn kids these days, and their dangfool gadgets
posted by theora55 at 9:29 AM on March 16, 2005


"When I was a kid we weren't allowed to call our parents at work unless we were on fire."

Yup...called them a couple times though!
posted by schyler523 at 9:47 AM on March 16, 2005


This is perfect. I've been looking for another phone just to handle calls to my bookie and favorite hooker.
posted by Spiny Delicacy at 10:14 AM on March 16, 2005


Drug dealers are going to have some adorable burners.
posted by drezdn at 10:19 AM on March 16, 2005


That's exactly how Topher Grace's character in In Good Company got put on the fast track, developing and marketing cell phones for kids.

And yes, in the movie, it was meant to be a joke.
posted by linux at 10:22 AM on March 16, 2005


So the uncertainty over the health effects of cell phones on children, doesn't bother anyone? No parents?

As a parent I will fight tooth and nail (a losing battle I know, but what the heck) against my kids having cellphones before puberty unless there some pretty incontrovertible evidence that cell phone use is as harmless as watching, say, TV. I really hate the idea of my children becoming guinea pigs for the cell phone industry.
posted by talos at 10:36 AM on March 16, 2005


When I suggested getting my 5-year-old daughter a cellphone so she could stay in touch through the divorce, she cocked her head, gave me a funny look and suggested that I get her a Hello Kitty phone book and write down all the numbers she'll need.

Then again, she's a better reader than most kids her age. And smarter than me.
posted by Gucky at 10:37 AM on March 16, 2005


As a parent I will fight tooth and nail... against my kids having cellphones before puberty

If you really feel that way, you shouldn't want them to use them after puberty either. Come to think of it, you probably shouldn't use one of those yourself...

I don't get the hysteria surrounding mobiles. Everyone in Europe has one, and on many occasions people have mobiles instead of having land lines. You don't see the sort of massive brain cancer clusters there (or in Asia) that those fearful of mobiles seem to fear.

The technology has been there for over 25+ years, it's hardly at the "early adopter/guinea pig" stage.

What I find funny is that people will have that sort of reaction to mobiles -- whose potential for harm is, frankly, unproven) -- but won't think twice about taking the kids to McDonald's.
posted by clevershark at 10:46 AM on March 16, 2005


I second (or third or whichever) the idea of making phones with big buttons, but then I have sizable paws that tend to hit two of the tiny buttons at once if I'm not careful.

The upside is you know what they say about men with big hands....
posted by SteveInMaine at 10:53 AM on March 16, 2005


... big gloves, of course.
posted by SteveInMaine at 10:54 AM on March 16, 2005


Actually clevershark there is reason to believe that cellphones might be a greater risk to children under 8 than to older children or adults. The Times story I linked to above specifically talks about children younger than 8.
Everyone seems to suggest that in the face of contradicting evidence, young children should be discouraged to use cell phones.
In the face of *contradictory* evidence about a product's safety do you go ahead and let your children use it, or try to restrict its use to your children. Since cell phone use by children is a relatively recent phenomenon, there is no serious epidemiological conclusion either way - so what do you do? Allow your child to become a guinea pig, or try to limit exposure? It's plain common sense as far as I can see.
posted by talos at 11:06 AM on March 16, 2005


Of all the stupid dangerous life-threatening things I did or was in contact with when I was a kid, in retrospect a cell phone would have been the least of my worries.
posted by Stan Chin at 11:15 AM on March 16, 2005


MeTa
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 12:10 PM on March 16, 2005


We got one for Rover, I don't see why Junior can't have one.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:38 PM on March 16, 2005


To me, this is the more telling quote from the Times article.

The Times Jan 12 2005:
Mobile Phones Tumor Risk to Young Children

"All of these studies have yet to be replicated and are of varying quality but we can’t dismiss them out of hand," Sir William said. If there was a health risk — which remained unproven — it would have a greater effect on the young than on older people, he added.

The part about children appears to have come from Professor Sir William Stewart, chairman of the National Radiological Protection Board, not from the report.

The NRPB has this to say on their own site:

The main conclusion is that there is no hard evidence at present that the health of the public, in general, is being affected adversely by the use of mobile phone technologies, but uncertainties remain and a continued precautionary approach to their use is recommended until the situation is further clarified.


and there is also this from the FDA site:

Many experts say that no matter how near the cell phone's antenna--even if it's right up against the skull--the six-tenths of a watt of power emitted couldn't possibly affect human health. They're probably right, says John E. Moulder, Ph.D., a cancer researcher and professor of radiation oncology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. It's true, he says, that from the physics standpoint, biological effects from mobile phones are "somewhere between impossible and implausible."

I don't care much for cell phones, myself, and I can certainly see where someone might be overly cautious with their children's safety, but I would say that current research leads to a conclusion that's a far cry from "well proven that mobile phones fry little kids heads."

[First post. Hi all.]
posted by Arhat at 7:35 PM on March 16, 2005


If I ever get a cellphone (which it may be forced to do soon) I'll just use a headset and keep that sucker as far from my cranium as possible. Inverse square law and all that. I've done enough damage to my brain cells as it is without adding insult to injury.

It takes a long time for some problems to show up in humans. If there is a rash of peoples heads exploding in about 20 years, remember I warned you.

unless there some pretty incontrovertible evidence that cell phone use is as harmless as watching, say, TV.

Ahhhh!!!! (head asplodes)
posted by Enron Hubbard at 5:16 AM on March 17, 2005


Hi Arhat

6/10ths of a watt is pretty small and unlikely to cause biological damage but it still freaks me out that my unshielded speakers, a good meter+ away, buzz for a couple of seconds right before my cell rings - and I keep that little sucker in my front pants pocket...
posted by PurplePorpoise at 4:54 PM on March 17, 2005


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