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Kytephone app creates child-friendly smartphones


June 12, 2012

From standard Android UI to Kytephone UI

From standard Android UI to Kytephone UI

Image Gallery (6 images)

Children of all ages are being given their own mobile phones, the lucky ones being handed smartphones that many adults would love to own. The problem with this is the capacity for misuse a smartphone offers kids. They can use the device to access the Web, download apps, keep in touch with anyone and everyone, or take photographs to send to others. Kytephone is a free Android app that seeks to turn any Android handset into a child-friendly smartphone.

Kytephone is currently available for the Android operating system. Once installed to a child's smartphone it becomes a controlled environment for them to play in, with parents controlling contacts, apps, and photo-sharing. The online dashboard allows parents to see all activity made on the phone and also allows parents to track the smartphone in order to keep tabs on their child. The basic functions are demonstrated in the video at the foot of this article.

To set up Kytephone parents need to download the app from Google Play and install it to their child's smartphone. After logging in they can then create contacts and manage the phone via the dashboard. Once installed only the parents can disable the app thanks to the need to either log in or enter an unlock code. This assumes the child involved isn't a hacking Wunderkind.

Kytephone is currently only available on Android but the company is looking into the possibility of bringing it to the iOS, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry platforms in the future. Kytephone operates on a freemium model, meaning the app is free to download with the basic functions as described above, but with the option to add premium paid-for features in the future. The advantage of using this model is that kids are never exposed to adverts.

There are other options open to parents dealing with this issue - buy them a feature phone (though I guess that could still lead to issues like bullying), or not buy them a phone at all (though the lack of instant contact could be seen to outweigh any dangers posed by potential smartphone ownership). Some carriers also offer similar services but these are typically charged for on a monthly basis, making Kytephone an attractive prospect.

Source: Kytephone via TechCrunch

About the Author
Dave Parrack Dave is a technology journalist with a ravenous appetite for gadgets, gizmos, and gubbins. He's based in the U.K., and from his center of operations writes about all facets of modern and future technology. He has learned more in his five years writing for the Web than he did in 11 years at school, and with none of the boring subjects thrown in to the mix. All articles by Dave Parrack

An even simpler solution is for people to quit using their kids as a vicarious status symbol and just give them a simple cell phone instead of a smartphone.


You're forgetting that kids are cruel and if your kid has a phone with a dumbed down interface while spoilt rotten jnr has a fully functional GUI, one of them is going to be made fun of for having a 'crap' phone.

Personally I don't think kids under the age 12 should have a phone, and even then that's pushing it. Whatever age your kid starts becoming independent is when you should consider buying them a phone, lest they're employed and can buy themselves one.

Dean Granland
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