The war rages on as to whether children should have mobile phones – radiation problems, camera phone and sms bullying, increased risk of theft etc. but Vodafone has gone and released the Primofonio in Italy in association with Disney.
The key aspect of the phone is security, parents having administrator access to the phone to set up the child’s contact list or restrict (down to four numbers) the people that may be called from the phone. Barring is also an easy option with parents being able to block incoming and outgoing calls to and from numbers not listed amongst the contacts.
It is already estimated in Italy that 50% of children between the ages of eight and thirteen use a mobile phone so I guess it makes sense in certain regards, particularly in the younger age group. Why you would give a child of eight a mobile phone though is a little beyond me.
According to Paul Bertoluzzo, Vodafone’s GM (this coming from an Italian translation)
There isn’t a phone on the current market that exists purposely for families with specific characteristics of emergency – we have decided to give life to a device that possesses exclusive characteristics of simplicity and emergency
Very loose translation but Vodafone apparantly opting for the safety route amongst young mobile users.
Ubergizmo has a picture here, with Vodafone’s release here (in Italian).
At this time I confirm that Primofonino is only delivered in Italy by Vodafone.