A mobile with hotlines to parents

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 November, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 November, 2008, 12:00am

It's a gadget just made for parents who cannot bear being apart from their little treasures for a moment - a mobile phone for children with one-touch buttons to call their mother or father.

And that's not all. As well as phoning or taking calls from their parents, users can only call, and receive calls from, 200 preset numbers. It has no numeric keypad.

Numbers can be inputted to the phone's SIM card by putting the card in another phone or by hooking it up to a computer.

Children can receive text messages from their approved contacts, but may not send any. There's also a panic button.

Priced at HK$1,280, the Mo1 was launched in Europe two years ago by a Spanish toy company, ItsImagical, which markets it as the first mobile for three- to eight-year-olds - and as a safety phone. It generates two-thirds less radiation than a typical mobile phone, making it better for children's health, according to the company.

It will go on sale in Hong Kong next month but one parent doubted young children would like the phone.

'Parents tend to buy multifunctional phones because their kids want it,' said Stephen Kai Ping-chung, chairman of the Federation of Parent Teacher Associations in Kwun Tong.

A sociologist questioned whether young children need their own mobile phone.

'If you give a mobile phone to kids, you are assuming that they are always alone,' said Lam Ching-man of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. 'But young children should always be taken care of by an adult.'

She was also concerned the contact list presets might lead to arguments.