A Mobile Phone for 4-Year-Olds. Seriously.
Nobody in his right mind would buy a cellphone for a child who’s still learning how to tie his shoes. But you might buy him a FiLIP.
The $200 FiLIP is a clever way for parents to keep a closer eye on their wee ones without having to buy them mobile phones or GPS tracking devices that they will inevitably lose, break, or cover in peanut butter.
Calling all kids
If you’re old enough to remember Dick Tracy’s Two-Way Wrist Radio, you know nearly everything you need to know about the FiLIP. It’s a watch that doubles as an extremely basic phone, made from colorful high-impact rubber and designed to fit the wrists of kids from 4 to 8. It’s water resistant and sturdy enough to take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’.
There are just two buttons: a big red one to make calls, and a smaller green one to cycle through the child’s list of contacts. Using a smartphone app, you can add up to five contacts that your nubbin can call via the FiLIP; these are also the only numbers that can call it. To make a call, your child selects a contact and speaks into a small mic below the watch face. Using the app, you can also send a text message of up to 24 characters to your child, which displays on the screen. There’s no way for him to send a text back, however.
FiLIP uses GPS, cell towers, and open WiFi hotspots to locate your child on a map; you can view up to the last 48 hours of his locations on your phone. You can create up to five SafeZones and get alerts when your child enters or leaves one.
The phone’s big red button also doubles as a panic button. Hold it down for three seconds, and it connects to an automated operator, who then proceeds to call each contact on the list until it reaches someone, and then connects that person via voice to the child’s watch. It does not connect your child to 911 services.