Parent-Controlled Educational Cell Phone for Kids Ages Six and Older
By Mike Hanlon
August 8, 2005
August 9, 2005 It was only a matter of time before someone would build a purpose built mobile phone for children. Learning product developer LeapFrog has announced that it has entered into an agreement to provide its LeapFrog-branded educational game content to Enfora, a global leader in wireless solutions, for use in its new TicTalk parent-controlled educational cell phone for children. The license agreement and product collaboration between the two companies includes the integration of five popular LeapFrog learning games into the TicTalk cell phone, covering more than 400 school skills in first through sixth grade core subject areas -- spelling, math, science and social studies.
New Technologies Benefit Younger Users
"It's no secret that kids are embracing new technologies at earlier and earlier ages, but their product needs are typically very different than older teens or adults," said LeapFrog president Jerry Perez. "LeapFrog's entire history has been about bridging the needs and desires of kids and their parents, so that both groups feel good about our products. Enfora's new TicTalk cell phone fits right into that model -- it provides kids with a cool device that's fun to use, but also gives parents the benefit of knowing it offers safety features and solid educational value."
The TicTalk cell phone, for kids ages six and older, was developed in response to parents' desire for a safe and reliable way to stay connected to their children. Designed with parents in mind, TicTalk is the first and only cell phone that enables parents to communicate with their kids anytime, while doubling as an engaging handheld gaming system with five built-in LeapFrog learning games.
Fully parent-controlled, the TicTalk cell phone is a real cell phone that can operate on any GSM/GPRS network nationwide. To program the phone, parents log onto an easy-to-use Web site and pre-set exactly who the child can call and receive calls from, along with how often, and what hours and days of the week the phone can be used to call certain numbers.
Educational Content Key to Differentiate
"LeapFrog's unique learning content contributions to our TicTalk cell phone, together with its parent controlled features, have made it a truly breakthrough device for kids and their parents," said Mark Weinzierl, president and chief executive officer of Enfora. "LeapFrog was the natural choice when it came to world-class educational content that both parents and kids trust. TicTalk is designed to address the needs of parents who want a secure communications device; control over use of the device by their children; and a means for motivating their children to learn from the experience. It also answers kids' demands for a cool, fun phone that allows them to stay in touch with friends and family, as well as play games during downtime. The feedback we have received from kids and parents in its development confirms that kids are extremely excited about it, and parents really value the ability to control when and how much the phone is used."
"We are always looking for innovative ways to deliver LeapFrog learning and are proud to be working with Enfora to establish a new product category with TicTalk -- the first educational cell phone for kids," added Perez. "The LeapFrog brand is trusted and loved by teachers, parents and kids around the world, and there is growing interest in extending our award-winning and highly regarded educational content to a wide range of emerging product categories."
Fun, Cool and Safe Features for Kids and Parents
TicTalk gives busy kids a fun way to stay in touch with family and friends, play games and stay organized. It also gives parents a way to communicate with their kids anytime, set limits on their kids' use of the phone, and create positive reinforcement through learning by awarding their kids with extra talk minutes for playing the LeapFrog learning games for a set period of time.
Features for Parents
- Using a secure Web-based account at www.mytictalk.com, which can be accessed from any computer browser, parents can manage and monitor multiple phone functions, including:
Who can call or be called from the phone
How and when the phone is used
When the phone can ring, such as before and after school
One button access to parents' phone number
Number of minutes used
Anytime calls to family and for emergencies
Reward calls and minutes to be earned by kids playing LeapFrog games or simply by completing agreed upon daily tasks or chores
Multiple choice answers for text messages from parents to kids
Features for Kids
Real cell phone that can operate on any GSM/GPRS network nationwide
Rugged, lightweight design that fits in the palm of a kid's hand
Ability to call Mom or Dad anytime
Ability to call friends approved by Mom or Dad
Ability to earn reward minutes by playing LeapFrog learning games, and to share those scores with friends via text messaging
Built-in speakerphone and voice recorder capabilities
Multi-colored lanyard with carabiner
To-do list / reminders
Ability to personalize it:
- Ring tones – record anything and use as a ring tone
Changeable faceplates with flashing LEDs
Changeable watch faces
LeapFrog games (Fact Attack, Hangman, Math Defender, Monkey Spelling, Monkey Math) and other games (Match it, Ask TicTalk)
Stopwatch and countdown timers
Record music with playback
Pricing and Availability
The Enfora TicTalk cell phone and a line of must-have accessories will be available in time for the back to school season, online, and at major consumer and electronics retailers nationwide. TicTalk will be priced at US$99 with pre-paid phone cards starting at US$25 for 100 minutes (expiring 90 days from purchase). There is no activation fee. For more information on Enfora's TicTalk cell phone, visit the TicTalk Web site