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Kiddie Phone


How old should children be to have their own cell phones? Some parenting experts say elementary school is too young. But Emeryville-based toy company LeapFrog has a mobile for kids as young as six. We asked LeapFrog’s brand manager, Patti Lew, about the TicTalk phone.

Q: How long has this been in the works?
A: This has been a very quick launch. We knew that phones and iPods were the top two gift requests for six- to 12-year-olds, so we wanted to explore a phone that was useful and had an educational component.

Q: How much does it cost?
A: The phone is $99, and then you set up a pre-paid phone plan. It’s $25 for 100 minutes, $50 for 200 minutes.

Q: Aren’t cell phones kind of sophisticated for six-year-olds?
A: We call it a cell phone on training wheels. The parent controls everything—what numbers can call the phone, what numbers the child can call, what time [of day] they can talk—through mytictalk.com. There’s no text messaging between phones, so no cheating in classrooms.

Q: Does the website recommend how long children should be grounded after they lose their $100 phones?
A: No, we leave that up to the parent.

My TicTalk is available at Toys ‘R’ Us, Fry’s, and www.mytictalk.com .

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