Firefly Mobile Phone for Kids
I suppose it was bound to happen eventually, in our society of instant access and constant contact. There are now cell phones specifically designed for kids: the Firefly mobile phone.
Most parents who buy their kids cell phones do so supposedly to keep in touch for safety reasons. Personally, I think it just introduces kids to the communication addiction that is so common these days. Personal bias aside, these are very neat little phones.
There are currently 3 models: the original Firefly, the glowPhone and the feature-packed flyPhone. According to their website, only the original Firefly is actually available at this time. The other two models are marked "preorder now", so it sounds like they are not out on the market just yet. They also have wall chargers and car chargers available.
The phone service is available in monthly plans, or in a pay-as-you-go plan, with no activation fees. There is extensive coverage across the country, but some areas will not have service (mainly the central USA). They have a map on their site, for more information.
The Original FireFly
This is the best one for kids, in my opinion. It's funky looking, with only 5 keys for simple usage. There is a phone book that can hold 20 numbers, and parental controls to limit calls to those stored numbers. It has 2 speed-dial keys for Mom and Dad. Cost: $39
The glowPhone as a few more features but is still fairly basic for kids. There is a large full-colour screen, along with ringtones, wallpapers and built-in games.
Like the original, it has a simple 5-key keypad, hotkeys for Mom and Dad (including the same parental controls for usage). It also has a small flashlight. Cost $49
The Cadillac of mobile phones for kids (as if it were really necessary). If you want your children to have full multi-media capabilities when away from home, this is the phone for you. Same parental controls, but now the phone book can hold 500 numbers. No hotkeys for Mom and Dad, though. This model has a full-colour screen, can play movies, MP3s and video games.
You can customize the phone with ringtones and wallpapers. There is even an integrated camera for photo taking on the go. The touch keypad changes to create a standard phone keypad, or to provide a typical game controller when playing games. This is a more complex phone and more suited for older children or teenagers. Cost $129