Dumbphone for (sort of) free-range kid?

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Hristo Botev
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Dumbphone for (sort of) free-range kid?

Post by Hristo Botev » Thu Jan 10, 2019 5:40 pm

Our 8-year-old is mature enough that she can walk the relatively short distance from my office to school by herself, as well as to go the nearby park by herself and so forth. But we'd like her to be able to get in touch with us, and vice versa.

Does the following phone exist in the US?
  • ~$50 or less pricepoint
  • Call and text only
  • T9 keyboard
  • Solidly built
  • Unlocked so we can get prepaid basic phone plans
  • Unable to access the internet and no or limited apps

The Nokia 3310 may be OK, but I'd really prefer something more like the Nokia 105, except that it doesn't really seem like that's much of an option with the 2G network limitations. I also looked at the Republic Wireless Relay, which is a cool idea and would be a real possibility if it weren't for the $9.99/month cell plan. I don't want to be paying for another monthly cell plan. I just want a phone that my 8-year-old in case of an emergency or when we want to find out where she is.

Any ideas? Seems like there'd be more options out there than I am finding. But perhaps there just aren't that many of us who are fine with their kids being independent, but who also have no intention in sticking a smartphone in their hands before they leave for college.

jennypenny
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Re: Dumbphone for (sort of) free-range kid?

Post by jennypenny » Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:24 pm

If you're only talking about a distance of a mile or two, get walkie-talkies instead. Motorola talkabouts are good, cheap, and appropriate for kids that age. I'm sure there are other brands that would work, too.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Dumbphone for (sort of) free-range kid?

Post by Hristo Botev » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:28 am

Thanks @jp. Seems like from the reviews no matter what the stated range/power, you may not even get a mile in an urban setting, especially if one or both people are in buildings. I'm certainly no expert on radio frequencies, but I'd need a solidly reliable 2 mile range in a heavy urban setting when one or both people are likely to be inside a building, and I don't think that a RF walkie talkie can do that.

Stahlmann
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Re: Dumbphone for (sort of) free-range kid?

Post by Stahlmann » Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:55 am

Real (old) nokia 3310?

Hristo Botev
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Re: Dumbphone for (sort of) free-range kid?

Post by Hristo Botev » Fri Jan 11, 2019 9:25 am

Stahlmann wrote:
Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:55 am
Real (old) nokia 3310?
I'd love to do that, but everything I see on ebay is on the European 900/1800 network band, which I don't think will work (or at least work well) in the US.

jennypenny
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Re: Dumbphone for (sort of) free-range kid?

Post by jennypenny » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:24 am

Sorry, didn't realize you are in an urban setting. There are talkies that work through wifi (if you have city-wide coverage) but I think they cost a bit more.

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prognastat
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Re: Dumbphone for (sort of) free-range kid?

Post by prognastat » Fri Jan 11, 2019 11:47 am

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005CWSF3U/re ... B075FL4H89
This looks like it's a little pricier than the Nokia phones, but is 3G capable and has an SOS/Emergency button on it.

ZAFCorrection
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Re: Dumbphone for (sort of) free-range kid?

Post by ZAFCorrection » Fri Jan 11, 2019 1:02 pm

jennypenny wrote:
Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:24 pm
If you're only talking about a distance of a mile or two, get walkie-talkies instead. Motorola talkabouts are good, cheap, and appropriate for kids that age. I'm sure there are other brands that would work, too.
+1

My parents were into that when I was a kid and it worked out well in our suburban neighborhood. But, as previously stated, probably not going to work well with huge buildings everywhere.

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Kriegsspiel
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Re: Dumbphone for (sort of) free-range kid?

Post by Kriegsspiel » Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:31 pm

About 5 years or so ago I got an AT&T Go Phone, which I believe is the Cingular Flip 2 on their website now. It was like $25 back then, now it's $60. The technology undoubtedly improved /s. I got it at Wal Mart, but I'm not sure if they sell them there anymore, but I'd assume they have other cheap phones there still. You might even be able to find a used one.

Anyways, you can use it on the Airvoice or AT&T plans, so depending on how much she texts/talks, you can figure out which one to get her.

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