For parents of young kids, the decision to give them a smartphone can be a difficult one. One the one hand, the ability to give your child a way to contact you in an emergency, or vice versa, cannot be overstated in terms of importance. On the other, handing them a phone means potentially exposing them to unwanted communication — or simply carries the more mundane risk of being put down and lost.
A new Kickstarter campaign for the so-called “myFirst Fone” hopes to solve some of those issues. For starters, the 3G smartphone is worn like a watch, which should reduce the chance of it being misplaced. Despite this shift in form factor, it boasts a lot of the features you find on a regular phone — such as a pedometer and a 1.3-megapixel camera.
In terms of safety, the device lets parents plug in only certain numbers, so your kid will be able to receive only phone calls or text messages from numbers that have been pre-approved by you. It also lets you keep track of what your kid is up to. This can be done either through GPS or Wi-Fi-based tracking, or a feature which promises to alert you if your child leaves a geo-fenced area. Your child can additionally send an SOS message to his or her parents with a single button, while parents can listen in to what their kid is up to by accessing the device’s built-in microphone.
MyFirst Fone certainly isn’t going to assuage the fears of all parents who are worried about gifting their kids a phone. It’s easy to imagine some parents strongly disapproving if the idea of giving their offspring a device which can be used for spying on them throughout the day — even if the spies are simply their well-meaning parents. However, if you’re looking for a straightforward way of keeping in touch with your young son or daughter, and don’t think a regular smartphone (or a more expensive call-making smartwatch like the Apple Watch Series 3) is the answer, this could be the gadget for you.
The device is currently available for pre-order on Kickstarter, with prices starting at $89. Shipping is set to take place in May.