By Andrew Liszewski
The must-have kid’s toys of the past like Cabbage Patch Kids in the 80′s and Tickle Me Elmo in the 90′s are being replaced by high-tech must-have items such as cellphones these days. Of course no parent should give an irresponsible 10-year-old a completely unrestricted phone so kid-friendly cellphones are becoming more popular. Like the Firefly or Migo the TicTalk is a fully working GSM/GPRS capable cellphone that is only restricted when it comes to how the child can use it.
The phone uses a pay-as-you-go rate plan that runs about $25 for 100 minutes but the parent can also limit how many of those minutes the child can use on a daily basis. These restrictions including a pre-approved phone book can all be setup by logging into the TicTalk website since the phone itself only has a minimal set of buttons. (No keyboard.) Syncing is all done wirelessly but you can connect the TicTalk to a PC via USB in order to upload photos. But given it only has a black and white screen that functionality seems rather pointless.
As an added incentive to entice parents the TicTalk also includes a set of educational Leap Frog games for teaching math, spelling, science and social studies. And to encourage the kids to actually touch those games they can earn additional reward minutes by playing them.
The TicTalk runs about $99 in addition to the pay-as-you-go rates but the activation is free.