Last month, this crazy thing happened– my son turned 10. Ten. Double digits. I can’t even process how this could have possibly happened, because I’m pretty sure this was just last week:
I feel like the last ten years went by in a blink. As the big day approached, my husband and I talked about how we could give him a little more responsibility. He’s been wanting to do things like walk to school and go to the park with his friends. While most of our hesitation has been with him crossing busy streets, I was also nervous about him needing to get in touch with us for any reason. We started to wonder if we should get him a cellphone.
We felt that a smartphone was too much for him, and considered an old flip phone that we had from my husband’s pre-smartphone days. But after a little research, we decided instead on the LG Gizmopal 2.
We have known about the Gizmopal for years– quite a few of the kids in his grade have them. Not many (I only know of one) have an actual phone. So it was something he was familiar with, a bit at least, and the parents of the kids who have them have raved about them for years.
We will get him a real phone, I’m sure, when he is off to middle school. He’ll be across town at the middle school, and he’ll have a little more responsibility under his belt. I felt like the Gizmopal is a good introduction to the responsibility of having a phone.
What we like about the Gizmopal
The Gizmopal is controlled by an app on your smartphone. There are no changes my son can make on his end. Here’s a screenshot of the settings you can change:
The Gizmopal only allows four phone numbers for both incoming and outgoing calls. My son didn’t need more than that– again, none of his friends have actual phones, so he doesn’t really have a need to call anyone when he isn’t with us. All of those numbers are entered via the app.
While that wasn’t a deal maker for us, here is what was: it auto-answers after 10 seconds of no pickup. So if my son doesn’t answer, it will automatically answer for him. This is great because if I need to get in touch with him, and he doesn’t answer for whatever reason, I can hear what’s going on and he can possibly hear me too.
There is a GPS locator, which, while a little slow (it can take up to three minutes,) I can see where he is. This has been helpful when he’s running late, or to make sure that he made it somewhere safely.
You can silence the Gizmopal for certain times, so I have set up the app to silence while my son is in school. You set it once, and you don’t have to do anything else.
Battery life is awesome on the Gizmopal— a charge lasts at least a week. Recharging is quick, and it uses a regular micro-USB to charge. You can also see the battery life from the app, so you will know when it needs to be recharged.
What I don’t love about the Gizmopal
It doesn’t have a watch. The next step up does, the Gizmogadget, but it’s almost double the price. The Gizmogadget does have additional features, like texting and the ability to call ten numbers, but that was something that we didn’t need.
I also don’t love the look of it– the color is kind of a bright baby blue, which is, well, baby-ish. He would have appreciated a darker color. It does also come in pink.
My Thoughts One Month In
This Gizmopal was honestly the perfect solution for what we needed it for. I am really happy we went with it, because the features like GPS and auto answer would not have been available on a regular flip phone.
I highly recommend the Gizmopal 2 if you’re looking for a cellphone alternative for your child!