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Firefly Unveils Handset For 4-year Old Kids

American company Firefly has said that it will be selling a mobile phone for mobile kids in the UK by the end of the year.

More than half of under 10 year old in the UK own one mobile phone anyway, which means that Firefly already has some strong competition. The Firefly handset has five buttons, two of which to call mum and dad (or mums 1 & 2 or dads 1 & 2).

A whopping 7000 of the phones have been sold in Ireland at a cost of £85 each. They are available as SIM-free models although the company partnered with O2 in Ireland and has been backed by a marketing campaign.

The glowPhone, which is the one expected to go on sale, has a full colour screen, built in games, customizable ringtones and wallpapers plus a flashlight. Its phone book can store up to 50 numbers and is PIN protected, allowing parents to limit incoming and outgoing calls to numbers stored in the phone book.

Speaking to the Dailymail, Margaret Morrissey, from Parents' Outloud, said "We have got to be really careful here, especially for under-10s. We are continually eroding childhood and making children miniature adults. The excuse will be that it is for the sake of safety, but in fact it's for the sake of the mobile phone company's bank balance. Companies might say it will be targeted at parents, not children, but every parent understands peer pressure."

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Our Comments

Parents with young children have grown up with mobile phones. New technology has always been frowned upon but young minds are always the first to explore the unknown and the forbidden. Anyway, £85 for a mobile phone is quite expensive, we'd rather spend it on getting a Z750i (for £45) and flog in a free SIM from 3.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.