An Australian firm is launching what it says is the first cyber-safe mobile phone for kids, targeting parents worried about their children’s online habits.
ASX-listed cyber safety company Family Zone says the Android phone – which it aims to have in stores in time for Christmas – has built-in controls that allow parents to restrict usage.
Parents control the settings on the $199 FZ One phone from their own devices, monitoring websites and imposing time restrictions on games and applications.
But the child still has a degree of autonomy, Family Zone managing director Tim Levy said.
‘You might be comfortable giving your child access to Snapchat from ages 13 or 14, and if you’re using a child-designed phone bought from Harvey Norman you probably can’t do that,’ Mr Levy told AAP.
‘With our device you can give your child access to Snapchat, but you can limit when they use it, for instance during school time.’
The company has a school community platform, giving participating schools control over how the phones are used throughout the day.
‘It changes the argument about banning mobile phones: that isn’t the objective here,’ Mr Levy said.
‘Most kids are happy to not be exposed to things that are inappropriate, they just want to play the things they want, and talk to their friends.’
The company declined to say which retailers would stock the phone.
The device comes with a free 12-month subscription to the required Family Zone app.
Shares in Family Zone were trading 1.5 cents, or 4.8 per cent, higher at 32 5 cents, at 1209 AEST.