- Spanish start-up Escudo Web announced a smartphone geared toward kids.
- Parents can use a remote application to restrict which apps their child has access to.
- The biggest question is whether there exists a market for something like Escudo Web’s phone.
Smartphones might have become necessary tools in our lives, but that has seemingly come at the cost of our attention spans. It has been found that smartphone dependency can result in diminished social interactivity, increased risk of depression, and sleep depravity.
As BBC reported, Spanish start-up Escudo Web hopes to reverse this trend with a smartphone geared toward kids, but will anyone be interested in it?
Shown off at MWC 2018, the smartphone comes with a remote application that lets parents control what is accessible on the phone at any time. For example, if your little scholar needs to study for an exam the following day, parents can restrict usage so the phone only shows education-related apps like Microsoft Word and Calculator.
Parents can even block access to the home screen altogether and replace it with an activity command, such as “time to study” or “time to brush your teeth.”
Given this lack of autonomy, kids might get some ideas and mess around with the phone. With the software preventing them from turning off GPS and the phone itself, however, those ideas of rebellion will quickly go down the toilet.
Not being able to shut off geo-location on the phone does allow the SOS function to hopefully work as advertised. By tapping and holding the home screen, kids can then press the SOS button on the bottom right. This initiates a discreet SOS call to a parent’s phone that lets them know where their kids are.
There are plenty of questions surrounding Escudo Web’s endeavor, however. We do not know how much the start-up’s phone will cost, whether it can find a hardware partner, or how secure the phone will be. All we know is that the phone runs a customized version of Android, so do not expect the phone to be affordable.
More importantly, we don’t know if there is a market for something like this. I do not imagine a kid eager enough to own a phone that is fully controlled by their parents, nor do I imagine a kid happy to lose their autonomy.
Also, alternatives like Google Family Link mostly accomplish the same thing for free. Parents might not want to drop X amount of money on Escudo Web’s take.
We will keep an eye on this to see how it develops over the next few months, but consider us skeptical.