Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cheaper price predicament on mobile phones: a boon for reckless kids & a warning for naive parents

I remembered it well, when the first Nokia’s handset with camera; the 750 was released, everybody are excited about the idea of a camera embedded into mobile phone. But to have such luxury on the given time, we had to pay a hefty price for it, perhaps around $800 or so.

As time flies by, and a camera inside mobile phones became a common feature, the price drops significantly and doesn’t pose as the reason for hiking the high price anymore. Furthermore, mobile manufacturers have thrown in many additional features into their newer handset models to attract consumers. Like the capability to play MP3 music files, play various video formats, games, surf the web with integrated web browsers, etc.

It works, consumers are beginning to look up for more features beside the actual use of basic need: to make & receive calls. And while mobile manufacturers are fighting each other by lowering their handset’s price, consumers have been receiving the benefits from the fight: cheaper price even for the newest and savviest mobile phone out there right now.

We’ve seen the results ourselves, heck, you may even have been enjoying them yourself. ;-D Such as the Centro sold at only $99, and now sold just around $69. Then the new iPhone 3G sold at only $199, everybody are literally salivating to get one. It’s like buying a new shiny gadgets with spread payment at front, the only caveat is that you’ll be burden with monthly subscription plan with the locked wireless mobile carriers.

But tell me the truth, is that still hold you back from purchasing Centro or iPhone 3G? I don’t think so. ;-p

The reason is simple enough for even in laymen terms; the price sounds cheap, it feels light to pay for it, and it sure is fit with money in my pocket right now. The mobile vendors, in this case are Palm & iPhone, have struck gold with their strategies: the mobile phone that is jam-packed with the most cutting edge features at this moment, don’t have to be expensive.

I don’t wanna talk about how can those mobile vendors do that, because the reason is probably the same as what those computer manufacturers have done with their netbooks strategies; and that’s another discussion in another post. What I do want to talk about now, is the impact of cheaper price those savvy mobile phones have to our children, who will hold them in their tiny little innocent hands.
Let’s face it, you’re not gonna say no when your children beg you to buy them mobile phones for them, aren’t you? When those little devils make their cute begging face, which parents can say no, right? ;-p
Some of them asked for the same mobile phones you’re using, and of course you’re not obligated to give them your priced possession. Instead, you can get them the mobile phones that are designed specifically for children and teens; like the ones made by

Kids these days have been well acquainted with digital world, and thanks to their own parent’s digital lifestyle, kids to teens have also pick up computer knowledge faster than they know how to wear their own pants or tie their own shoes. So with cutting edge mobile phones in their hands, are turn into compact sized computer inside their pockets.

While the adults are playing… eheemm, I mean “working” *cough* with their mobile phones, these kids are spending their play time with their mobile phones too. With mobile phones, they are easier to chat/IM, text message, email and call their friends; or strangers. Either it’s day, night, at school, or even on bed.

And this could translate they’ll use the mobile phones you gave them, anywhere and anyplace, with or without their parents supervision watching over them. The worries continue, how about if the kids are receiving text messages or calls from strangers and bad people; worse is from pedophilias? Or how about if while the kids are surfing the web, and then they stumbled upon adult contents like porn and violence?

That doesn’t stop there, with camera embed within the mobile phones, kids can take pictures anytime and anywhere they like. If they’re taking and sending proper pictures, then it’s alright. But how about if it is not “proper” pictures?

Kids are naïve, innocent, and absolutely reckless because most of them haven’t met face to face with the real world that’s hid away by their parents until they’re old enough. But unfortunately, it’s not only the kids who are naïve; the parents can also be too.

Handing down the mobile phones without knowing the consequences, are like handing down guns to your children. Even with the safety button is locked, the kids will eventually find a way to unlock it themselves. Parents used to think, that their kids are no smarter than them. Such thinking should be changed immediately, or the worries will become a reality.

Of course, there’s another concern aside what I’ve mentioned above. This one is more medical concern; which is now under study: the risk of cancer of using mobile phone. Yes, it is not proven and still hasn’t been any solid proofs yet. Only indications, and presumptions by medical expertise. Even though the findings can be called old news, this one is newer:

Prof Kjell Mild, of Orbero University, Sweden, who is a Government adviser and led the research, said that children should not be allowed to use mobile phones because their thinner skulls and developing nervous system made them particularly vulnerable.

His study comes just a month after a separate piece of research, jointly funded by the Government and the mobile phone industry, found there was only a "very faint hint" of a link between long-term use of mobile phones and brain tumours. This six-year, £8.8 million Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research (MTHR) programme came under fire for failing to investigate more thoroughly those who had used their phones for more than a decade.

But let’s put aside the “faint” concern of cancer radiation, and let the scientists do their works first before making a fuzz about it now. And let’s concentrate on what is in front of our eyes, and how to deal with the real concern that we face today; what to do with the mobile phones that are already in the hands of our children?

I like the idea that is presented by Larry Magid from Yahoo!Kids; that the phones are fine, if used properly. It is parents, who has given the devices to their own kids, that should sit down and talk about how the devices should be used properly. A heart-to-heart conversation is what would be most suitable to deal with the little ones, not a lecturing type of a lesson, but more like a family talk that’s familiar to the kids.

While the parents should do their jobs to protect their children from such dangers, the mobile manufacturers should also do their job to help protect the young ones from using their products for false purposes. A fine example is given by Apple with the new parental control in the new iPhone 2.0 platform, which I’ve talked about it in my previous post
here at PalmAddict.

Although Microsoft has introduced advanced parental control in Windows Vista for desktop/laptop OS, Microsoft hasn’t been embed such security settings for the growing popularity of Windows Mobile. With more and more mobile manufacturers are adopting WinMob into their mobile handsets, including Palm, Microsoft as the one who made it should take the necessary actions before the consumers themselves demand for it.

We’re growing and learning new things as we walk forward, with burden on our shoulders and our hands lead our kids’ hands altogether. It’s our best hope everybody involved will enhance and make the products better in time, but in the mean time; we ought to equipped ourselves with enough knowledge on how to prevent the things we don’t wish to happen, instead of let them happens before us until too late.

Are you with us? And are they with us?

Sources are from:

[blogged with my Treo 750v]

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