When children are off on their own parents can worry about a child’s welfare. In Japan, NTT DoCoMo will launch a second parent friendly mobile phone for children. The first phone of this type was offered in 2006 and sold around 500,000 units. The new unit, F801i, will go on sale in Japan later this month.
The F801i has a 100-decibel alarm that a child can activate by pulling on a cord. When the alarm is activated the phone flashes and sends an e-mail to the child’s parents. The e-mail includes information gathered by a Global Positioning System so the location of the child can be tracked. A silent alarm can be triggered by pressing a button on the side of the cell phone.
The new model of the F801i has a remote controller that children can wear like a wristwatch. This feature allows the phone to be locked if the child is separated from the phone over a certain distance. If the child gets within 10 meters of the phone after it is locked, the device will ring, making it easier to find. The phone will also send parents an e-mail if it is separated from the controller for more than 5 minutes.
The F801i is Web friendly to children by blocking adult sites and can be programmed to block access to the Internet between 10pm and 6am. Like the earlier version of the phone, a screwdriver is required to remove the battery. This prevents children from removing the battery to prevent the phone’s tracking ability.
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on what you think about tracking children this closely, the F801i is only sold in Japan and there are no thoughts of selling it in other countries.