Not sure your kids need a phone, and aren’t prepared to hand your old model down? An Aussie company is trying its hand at something that might do the job.
If you’re a parent, you’ve probably heard the complaints from your kids about how they need a phone. More specifically, how they need your phone.
Your phone is now their phone, and even though it has access to all your things — most importantly, your payment details — it’s still within reach, and on request fairly regularly. It’s one reason why parents often buy kids their own phones, even if those kids aren’t necessarily prepared for owning a phone in the first place.
Phones come with responsibility, and aren’t just portable media players and computers with a connection to the web, and are the sort of things children may not always immediately understand. Or even if they do, might not be things parents are ready for yet.
If that last one rings true, an Australian company may well be thinking of you, as Australian technology commentator Charlie Brown turns to the development of a smart device of sorts that isn’t necessarily a phone, yet has many of the hallmarks of one. Instead, the G-Mee devices look to provide a media player with Android for under $150, in a world where that concept has largely disappeared.
Wouldn’t you agree that your smartphone already replaced almost all your old-school gizmos from camcorder, calculator, camera, calendar, etc? Sometimes, I miss using a phone that is just for making phone calls and sending texts.
And there seems to be a gap in the market for parents who just want to buy a basic device (with no camera) for their kids.
Guess what? Such kid-safe phones do exist! Introducing G-mee Connect – it’s the safe and smart device for your child.
Several of the team at Ausdroid have young kids, so the G-Mee is a project that caught our attention. The premise is simple, it’s a phone aimed at kids: But it’s got some clever additions and omissions to be able to honestly say it’s well-targeted to that demographic of potential users. One obvious point is the price, retailing at AU$149.00 the G-Mee Connect is far from a pricey offering and clearly, has some low-end specs. Honestly, that’s all fine because this isn’t aimed at needy teenagers who must have the latest and greatest – it’s an introduction to mobile devices and the online world.
G-mee is the brainchild of Charlie and Rachael Brown – you may know him from the Channel 9 Cybershack TV show.
G-mee is really a personal content player that integrates measures for safe exploration of smart technology. It has an innovative pre-installed ‘G-mee app lock’ to guide the user’s smart device experience, and curb temptations to over-share or exposure to online risks, such as cyber-bullying.
You can block apps such as Facebook, YouTube or streaming services that can expose users to unsuitable content, or place them at risk of cyber-bullying. It is parental control on the device!
So, we decided to review the phone. And that is in two parts. Less important is the hardware. Most important is the app lock.
G-mee makes devices specifically for children, meaning they are durable, and filled to the brim with online safety features straight out of the box. While every G-mee device looks like a phone, the G-mee Play is a WiFi only media device, which can be a viable alternative to passing over your phone anytime your little one wants to watch a video or play a game.
Having spent over 14 years working with kids, and with a degree to prove it, I know my way around toddler and teenage tantrums alike. If you’re looking for a phone, or a phone alternative for your own child then you’re probably familiar with them too.
It’s no secret that children and adults operate differently; no grown up has ever asked me what my third favourite reptile is, and then cried and threw a toy at the wall when it wasn’t the frilled neck lizard. So when we’re looking at a phone that’s made for kids, it’s important to think like one.
While there are a range of factors that separate the men from the boys, and the women from the girls, it can boil down to just four main aspects.
Physical Tiny humans have tiny hands, enough said.
Emotional regulation Adults have greater control over their emotions. We can identify how we feel and take steps to handle those emotions. Children however, might not be able to differentiate between angry and tired, or hungry and sad, and tend to act unpredictably because of it.
Narcissism and empathy There are self-obsessed adults, but children are all tiny, cherub narcissists who only care about themselves. In fact children don’t develop empathy properly until they’re around seven years old. If an activity or moment doesn’t serve them, then they are likely to abandon it or derail it so the focus can be back where it belongs, solely on them.
Impulsivity Children have no filter. If you look tired, they will almost definitely tell you loudly, and usually in a crowd. Kids tend to act on impulse, if a thought or whim compels them then it will almost definitely manifest into reality.
You’re probably thinking “cool story, but what does this have to do with anything?” To properly ascertain whether the G-mee Play is the right device for your kid, I’m going to be pitting it against the four cornerstones of childishness. Is it up for the challenge? Let’s see.