Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Technology enabled parenting (policing !!) –i-Kids Phone

I am a father of a 5 year old , who uses Google (all by himself ) to view cartoon sites and download games ( I don’t know how long will his usage of Google be restricted to cartoon sites only…the very thought gives me sleepless nights !! ….)

I have been watching him grow very rapidly in confidence and cognitive abilities in the last one year, and has started to explore the world on his own in the last few months. The newly found confidence of my kid son and his need to explore the world on his own is the context of this post, you could call it the post of a paranoid parent ……….

Neelabjo (my son) has a full time governess to take care of him during the day, in spite of strict controls that have been put on him, he managed to hoodwink her and was able to unlock the doors of the house to go out to play soccer with kids almost double his age and size. I have been quite disturbed after this incident and have reprimanded the governess for failing in her duties,......since then I have been trying to look for a robust solution…..and incredibly enough found one while surfing the net…..The solution comes from Björn Steiger Stiftung Services, a German company ........written about by Annette Zimmermann, Research Analyst at Gartner.

Björn Steiger Stiftung, has introduced something special this Christmas for the German mobile market: the i-Kids phone featuring the so-called "Life Service Kids." This service is based on GPS technology that enables parents to locate their children over Internet or WAP service. In addition, parents can determine a "safe zone" for their offspring and will be notified via SMS should the child leave this pre-selected area. Björn Steiger Stiftung Services has exclusive rights to the device provided by Australian-based company mobiles2go throughout Germany. One of its most important security features is the "panic button." When this button is activated, the phone automatically dials the four predetermined numbers one after the other. If there is no answer, a connection is established to an emergency service center, or - and this is the light version of the service - the four contacts will be informed via SMS. The device is very basic and allows full cost control for the parent. The phone has no number keypad but comes with four buttons, which enables the child to speed-dial four numbers. Text messages can be received but not sent, let alone any other fun stuff such as music downloads and ring tones. While it is not certain which age bracket this phone is geared to, yet the features and the design suggest that this handset is targeted at a very young user group: 5- to 7-year-olds.

The rate at which technology devices are being adapted across multiple geographies is not funny and it may not be to long before parents like me in India have an option of i-Kid phone ......... call it policing , bad parenting …but I would welcome such a device to keep a tab on my son …..

1 comment:

Shreyasi Deb said...

hail parent!
hail technology?