Why Don’t We Have a Smartphone for Teenagers?

I think there’s a gap in the market for a smartphone that’s designed for teenagers. Let’s look at why…

Uncle Ben once said; with great power comes great responsibility. Never a truer work spoken, thanks Uncle Ben!

Smartphones can do amazing things. Things that can ruin your life if you get it wrong. So with this power should come at least some semblance of responsibility. The problem is that’s often not the case, and so we end up with services like Facebook that are full of the dross.

I don’t know about you, but when I was a teenager, I was a complete and utter moron. Many would argue that I’m still an utter moron now, but that’s besides the point, okay! 🙃 I’m so glad smartphones weren’t a thing when I was in school, because I would have fucked my entire life up. Guaranteed.

I’d have posted something stupid online, and it would have followed me round like a bad smell. Once it’s out there, people, there’s no taking it back.

Anyway, my kids are getting older and my oldest son is constantly going on at us for a smartphone.

Not gonna happen, Kid.

My wife and I

But there’s a quandary here. On the one hand, I don’t want my son to have a smartphone and access to all the things that entails. But I also don’t want him to be that weird kid who doesn’t have a phone.

Kids are cruel, we all know that, and the smallest thing can hold a lot of weight with them. My oldest son is a sensitive soul and I would prefer he wasn’t the butt of other kids’ jokes, just because we as parents don’t agree with kids having a smartphone.

Which (finally) brings me to the point of this post, dear reader…

Why doesn’t a smartphone for teenagers exist?

We have smartphones, and dumb phones, but we don’t really have anything in the middle that allows some smart features, but not all of them.

I’d love to see a device that doesn’t cost the earth – because, let’s be honest here, a teenager is gonna ruin that shit – and has some obvious limitations, like:

  • No camera. Teenagers are generally horny little things with rampant hormones going wild. Once a picture of one’s privates is out there, it’s out there for good. And to my previous point – teenagers are idiots and would likely forward those kind of pics on to their friends.
  • A secure and private messaging platform, like Signal.
  • Online grooming is a serious problem, so I’d like to see a companion app that parents can use to restrict access, like which sites they can visit, which apps they can install etc.
  • Tracking, all the tracking. But for parents only. We should be able to see what our kids are up to on their phone’s, in my opinion.

I was talking to a friend in work about this recently, who has 2 daughters that are slightly older than my boys. His solution is to have an old smartphone that’s in the living room, and doesn’t leave the living room. His daughter(s) can then use this phone to WhatsApp their friends etc.

I think this is a great compromise, but I’d really like to see a proper smartphone that’s geared toward teenagers so we can allow them a little more freedom.

Final thoughts

I can’t see Apple releasing something like this, but I can definitely see a manufacturer come out with something that runs Android. This would be a cool unique selling point, and as long as it integrates with services that “normal” smartphones use (like Signal, WhatsApp etc.) then I think it would sell by the bucketload.

Especially if they were reasonably priced. I don’t think we need another £1,000+ device on the market, but the £200-250 mark seems reasonable to me.

They could even create an entire ecosystem around these phones where kids can get a number of cases, like the old Nokia 5110, so they can customise their phones.

There could also be a mechanism by which access to the phone could be gamified. Do you chores and you get x hours access to the phone that week.

So Samsung, Motorola, OnePlus and all your pals; if you’re reading this, let’s get it done, hey? Me and all the other parents out there will thank you!

All of this could be a complete waste of time of course, as this product might already exist. If it does, please let me know using the reply button below.

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