I love the aspects of cell phones that allow you to always be able to find someone and to always give you access to emergency help. Is there something with these benefits that would be suitable for children who are too young for real cell phones? Some kind of glorified walkie-talkie or restricted cell phone?

asked 21 Nov '09, 13:40

Dinah's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

edited 02 Feb '10, 00:08

Scott's gravatar image

Scott ♦♦

There are many child specific services (such as Kajeet and FireFly Mobile), and most carriers have a child specific phone as well.

Features to look for:

  • Robust (Won't break easily, won't stop working when it gets damp, etc)
  • Long battery life - it will get lost/misplaced/stolen, but the tracking only works if the battery is still good.
  • Tracking
  • Advanced tracking features - supposed to be within certain areas at certain times of the day, and it alerts you if they aren't, for instance.
  • Incoming call restrictions (only allow calls from certain numbers)
  • Outgoing call restrictions (some don't even have a keypad)
  • Configure parental restrictions over the internet (don't want to take it to a store or try to program it by hand)
  • Incoming and outgoing call restrictions can be overridden with PIN, so you can call from a pay phone or friend's phone and get through the incoming call restrictions

This article is a bit out of date, and some of those phones and carriers have closed, but it gives a good overview and a few more options. A Google search can be used to find others.


answered 21 Nov '09, 14:25

Adam%20Davis's gravatar image

Adam Davis
accept rate: 31%


How about the radiation levels? Which ages are these devices recommended for?

(21 Nov '09, 16:07) Emi


(21 Nov '09, 23:05) MrChrister

Every wireless communications device emits RF radiation. You have to weigh the benefits against the possible costs. As lgritz points out only a very few studies have shown any measurable change in human tissue exposed to RF radiation, and all changes were very local and temporary - once the RF was stopped or moved away, the tissue went right back to 'normal.' The only effect they could find was localized heating, less than a degree in a high RF field (stonger than a cell phone). I interpret that as safe for normal use.

(22 Nov '09, 05:05) Adam Davis

However, I don't see the need for my children to have cell phones. Perhaps when they're teenagers, and more mobile and independent, but I see no reason for my 9 year old and younger children to have one. And I'm more of a "better safe than sorry" person. Unless there's a definite need, then why take even an unproven risk?

(22 Nov '09, 05:07) Adam Davis

Evidence for cell phones harming humans is far from conclusive, and they may eventually be proven harmless. But some studies are ambiguous enough, and troubling enough, that several countries are cautioning against (or outright banning) cell phones for children. Here are a few references:

It's not clear what to make of all this. I carry a cell phone. The convenience outweighs the risk for me, an adult whose brain and body are already developed, if not on the decline. :-) But I won't give one to my kid until he's MUCH older, it's just not worth the risk while his brain and body are developing, especially considering that there's not much reason for him to have it (my generation turned out just fine without having cell phones to call people or have our parents track our position at all times).


answered 22 Nov '09, 01:24

lgritz's gravatar image

accept rate: 14%


This seems to answer "Are cell phones dangerous?" and "Will you give a cell phone to your child?" Although these are both extremely important topics and do merit discussion, I don't think it at all answers the original question.

(22 Nov '09, 20:40) Dinah
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Asked: 21 Nov '09, 13:40

Seen: 5,573 times

Last updated: 19 Feb '10, 17:30