It might not be the most popular notion, but let’s face it, phones are a great idea, even for fairly young children. The ability to be able to contact parents and, conversely, give parents the ability to contact them is sound. Time is cheap when you are young and it’s easy for an afternoon to slip by and not realize that its time to head home. That fact alone means that being able to contact your kids at will is important, so that makes them having a phone becomes imperative.
However, leaving your children with an expensive handset might not be the best strategy. Easy to lose and expensive to replace, giving them a top of the range handset could be a false economy. Additionally, there has been some concern about the medical effects of handsets, particularly those using high power applications, which increase radio frequent interference (RFI) and radiation from them. So what are the options? Well, there are several, including not giving the kids a phone in the first place, but the most sensible option may be to give them a feature phone, so they can be contacted but it’s less traumatic if they do manage to lose it.
Feature phones are typically low-end mobile phones which are limited in their connectivity and capabilities in contrast to a modern smartphone. Feature phones usually provide both voice calling and text messaging functionality, but may have varying degrees of basic multimedia and internet availability. It sounds like you’d have to first invent time travel and go back to the 20th century to get one, but luckily feature phones are the latest big thing, so you will be spoilt for choice.
Top of the list for feature phones has to be the revamped Nokia 3310 licensed to HMD. Based on the 2001 bestseller, the 3310 has up-to-date electronics in a package that is startling similar to the original, apart from being bright yellow rather than grey, which potentially makes it easier to find in long grass or the sandpit. The Nokia even comes with classic games fitted, so you can introduce your children to the wonders of Snake and Tetris, rather than Angry Birds.
Also popular is the LG Extravert 2, which offers low tech connection for a very low price. With a full physical QWERTY keyboard which slides out of the body, and a full colour 3.2 inch screen, it is an expert texting device. If you are looking at the really basic end of the feature phone market, the ZTE Z222 flip-phone from AT&T is hard to beat. While it only has a monochrome screen, its price alone makes it an easy to use cheap phone that you won’t be too upset about you kids dropping or losing.
Feature phones are beloved by the older generation too, as they may have used them the first time round and appreciate the low-level of operation. Uncomplicated and with a high value-for-money, feature phones are likely to continue to attract several sections of the phone using community, and will always be available.
Taken from the April issue of Geek Parenting, out now!