New kids phone launched for children aged 4 to 9 years old

  • 1stfone

British firm OwnFone has launched a new kids' phone for children aged 4 to 9 years old, called 1stFone. The very basic device features some simple functions that allow the child to call a limited amount of people and to receive calls. The mobile comes in various designs and colours, with four different keyboard options that allow to store either 2, 4, 8 or 12 phone numbers.

The handset is priced at £55 if part of a 'Pay-monthly' plan (with 50, 100 or 500 minutes of conversation for respectively £7.50, £10 or £15 a month) or at £70 if 'Pay-as-you-go'. There's also a third 'Handset and 6 or 12 Months Airtime' option where you can get the phone and 50 minutes of calls each month for a one off payment of £90 (6 months) or £120 (1 year).

But let's get to the point: how many of you are right now thinking that buying such a product would be a complete waste of money? The phone makers claim that one of the reasons why people would choose a 1stFone is because it "connects your child with the people they need" and it would result in "peace of mind for you". Really? I've always thought that children between 4 and 9 years old should always be only a step away from the "people they need", shouldn't they? At such a young age kids don't go out alone, and the only times when they are not under their parents' supervision, is when they are at school - where they wouldn't be allowed to keep a phone on anyway.

Giving a 4-9 years old child a mobile wouldn't give parents any peace of mind, it would only give them an unnecessary extra phone bill. In an example of what Chomsky has defined as 'manufacturing consent', the makers are clearly playing on the parents' fears - promoting the phone as a mean to improve their kids' safety - to sell a product they don't really need and that would be of no use to them in the case of a real danger.

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