Staying connected with your kids now involves technology. While back-to-school shopping means papers, pencils and knapsacks for most lil ones, some parents are also adding mobile phones to the supply list.
Thirty-eight percent of LilSugar readers said their children carry a cell phone with them, while 48 percent said they were against a school ban on the wireless devices. The biggest concerns parents have with the gadgets is that their youngsters will overuse them, talk to inappropriate people and not pay attention to class lessons. Cell phone providers are aware of these issues and have taken several measures to make parents more comfortable with them. Among their latest offerings are:
- GPS services on popular wireless provider's plans that allow parents to pinpoint kids' locations at any time. Verizon's Chaperone and Sprint's Family Locator allow parents to track their children from their computers on a password-protected account.
- Parental control services, also offered by traditional wireless provider's plans, that give parents the ability to set limits on when and where the phones are used.
- Specific wireless networks created expressly for young kids, such as Kajeet and FireFly. Designed for elementary school users, the services offer parental controls on all of their phones, allowing parents to limit who can call the phone and who their kids can call. The systems also offer timers that limit when calls can be made to certain numbers and weekly "allowance" minutes that can be added to (or subtracted from) based on the child's behavior.
Check out some of the devices that house these GPS and parental controls below.