I still am astonished whenever I see little kids of grade school age sporting their own mobile phones. “Did I even have anyone to call at that age?” I ask myself. “Didn’t I just go outside to play and expect to meet my friends there?”
While I still think that allowing very young children their own cell phones may be overdoing it, I understand the need for safety precautions. As such, I can get on board with cell phones that are designed specifically for kids, like this one by the Japanese company KDDI.
Mamorino is a cute, almost toy-like cell phone that has minimal functions that are limited to calls, E-mail, GPS and SECOM Rescue (which I believe to be similar to 911).
Safety features of the Mamorino include an emergency light that can be programmed to detect darkness, an earthquake alert, and the SECOM button, which when activated, does the following:
Calls and e-mails are restricted to only 4 people on the child’s contact list. You may even choose to deactivate the e-mail function altogether.
All other services that have become so rampant with cell phone use are not available. Parents do not need to worry about distractions or even the abuse of data plans with the Mamorino.
One last great feature of the Mamorino is that it is waterproof. And as you can see from the pictures of the phone, it looks to be a cinch (at least compared to other cell phones) to wipe clean.
Unfortunately, the Mamorino is currently only available in Japan and Korea. But I hope that it — or another phone like it — will make its way stateside soon!
Via Little Seouls Blog.
They make one called the wirefly here in the US. It has parents, home, and police/fire departments pre-set into the phone. Works similarly to this. It’s been around for years.
oops, meant firefly.
@Christine — I had heard of Firefly before, and correct me if I’m wrong, but I was under the impression that Firefly is a mobile phone, albeit with limited functionalities, that can make all calls? With the Mamorino the user is limited to only 4 phone numbers and the parent does not need to worry about minutes (unless the child uses it to talk to their parents all the time). Also, if the child learns to use the Firefly they can potentially change settings, etc but with the Mamorino the settings are set outside the phone.
I immediately thought of the firefly phone as well, but you’re right, those have games and if the child figures out the password, they can change the numbers that can be dialed. I like that this Japanese phone is more rugged, more child-like, and less "cool."
There are different firefly phones. When I got one for my niece, it had four buttons on it only (a girl, a boy, a house, and a +). Those were your only options (please keep in mind this was at least 5 years ago when it first came out). I've seen NEW ones that now have more functionality. The one we had (back then) was very basic. But she's now an 11 year old with a Blackberry (my sister bought that for her… NOT ME).
I bought a phone for my kid with the same emergency button feature, I got it from just5. She can use it whenever she feels threatened.
I was always worried about coverage and a good signal because no matter how good the phone the ability to get a good signal is the most important thing, So I looked for maps from carriers where I live, Also checked out http://www.mobile-phone-coverage.com to understand what might cause problems. A family member bought this phone but said they could never get a good signal. We didn’t have the same experience. Seems great.