Sometime around the middle of last year I first heard of the FiLIP. The device is billed as a wearable smart locator and phone for kids, which is an accurate description, but doesn’t fully capture the value it provides. The reality is that the FiLIP is an invaluable device for kids on the go.
What age is the right age for a kid to have his or her own smartphone? For some parents, the answer may be never. In our house, the magic age is 10. That is the point we’ve determined a child is independent enough to be doing things outside of direct parental supervision, and responsible enough not to simply lose or break a device like an iPhone.
In some ways even 10 may be too young, and in other ways kids younger than 10 may be ready for or benefit from having a smartphone. Playing games, texting friends, and posting “selfies” on Facebook are hardly required activities for anyone of any age, though. For us, the smartphone is as much for our benefit as the child’s—it’s a tether that lets us keep tabs on our children when they’re out of our site, and gives us an easy way to communicate with one another.
Our youngest child challenges our arbitrary 10-year milestone, though. She is a few years from hitting that plateau, yet she is the busiest and most active of the bunch. Between dance, gymnastics, other activities, and just playing with friends in the neighborhood, the girl is constantly on the go, and often not with either of us. The FiLIP is perfect for her.
Say Hello to FiLIP
The FiLIP is elegant in its simplicity. The FiLIP is a wrist-based, wearable device. It is worn like a watch—or actually more like a bracelet. The band has an opening on one side and is slightly flexible so you can slide your wrist in.
It lets you keep track of where your child is, and it’s also capable of receiving text messages, and making or receiving phone calls. What makes it different than your average smartphone, though, is that it is restricted to only making or receiving calls from the contacts designated by the parents. No endless chatting or texting with friends, no Angry Birds or Candy Crush, and no shady calls from random strangers.
The FiLIP is configured, and managed from a mobile app on the parent’s smartphone. FiLIP has mobile apps for iOS and Android. Once the device is paired to the app, the parent can choose up to five contacts to store in the FiLIP. The child can cycle through the contacts and call one of them to ask if it’s OK to go to the park with a friend, or you can call the FiLIP to let your child know it’s time to come in for dinner.
The other primary purpose of the FiLIP is location tracking. The device reports its location, and you can view its current location on a map to see where your child is at any given time. Using the app, you can choose whether the FiLIP should refresh location information every 15, 30, or 60 minutes, or choose Standby which only updates location on demand. You can limit location refreshes to daylight hours to conserve power, and you can initiate Turbo mode which refreshes every 3 minutes for a period of 15 minutes…
Read the complete story on Forbes: FiLIP Is The Smartphone For Kids Too Young To Have A Smartphone.