A new mobile designed for kids, the Firefly phone, is set to launch in Britain later this year, but the four year-old target audience already has adults in uproar.
The Firefly phone, a tiny handset for toddlers which packs just five buttons including “Mum” and “Dad” keys, and extensive parental controls, has been a hit in Ireland, and it set to go on sale in the UK later this year.
But the phone has caused concern amongst parental groups, with Aine Lynch, chief executive of the National Parents Council going so far as to question “where parental responsibility is going”.
“Why would kids need to be contacted by mobile phone? Why are they not in the care of their parents, teachers or supervisors?”, she said.
Indeed. Still it could be amusing to see nursery lessons interrupted by the Nokia ringtone, and we’ve seen tweens rocking iPhones before so perhaps a controlled environment is better than nothing at all. And certainly more appropriate than the Penis phone. We’ll let you know if the Firefly phone leads to the downfall of civilization or not.
Surprisingly this phone was announced couple of years back, I cant see why its taking so long.
The French have already said no to such phones but we Britishers are much more tolerant (in all aspects ;) so you may find children using them soon.
Tim Dowling from the Guardian argues against it:
There can be no earthly reason why a child of four would need a mobile phone, but there must be dozens of reasons why it shouldn't have a Firefly. Here are just a few:
- It is not possible to conduct a fruitful phone conversation with a four year old, as you will know if you have ever tried.
- Four-year-olds rarely, if ever, have information to impart of such significance that it cannot wait until they are five.
- A Firefly costs £60. Without a sim card.
- Your child should always be in the company of a responsible adult who has a phone you didn't have to pay for.
- A four-year-old with its own phone will spend all day attempting to contact Pocoyo.
- Four-year-olds never hang up.
- 52% of children between the ages of five and nine already own a mobile. Chances are you will have to buy the child a phone next year anyway, and they won't want a pink toy that doesn't do YouTube.
- If you don't know where your four-year-old is, there's no point in ringing him. He doesn't know where he is either.
- For much less money you can get tiny T-shirts with your phone number and the word REWARD printed on them.
- Four-year-olds are enough trouble as it is. The last thing we want to do is give them is the means to organise.