iPhone vs. Kids

Over on the FB, I posted the following to my status update and what follows is some very well made points about why iPhones are better than kids.

In an attempt to offer a suggestion to parents on how to avoid forgetting your child in the backseat of a locked car, a local newscast today suggested that I could place my cell phone in the pockets behind the front seats of my car as a way to insure that I don’t forget my child. Because no one would go that long without noticing they didn’t have their…..phone. <sigh>


Response by Alan Benson

Well Galen, not to be contrary, but I think there’s a good point in that story. Thanks to all my nieces and nephews, I’ve had many years of interacting with various revisions of KidOS and four brands of hardware (Benson, Glance, Mims, and Graves–plus many others owned by friends). Children are an interesting project, and more advanced versions of the OS are fairly functional, but they have yet to reach the level of sophistication of your average phone. Just look at some of the key areas where they fall short:

Cleanliness: Phones get smeared and marked with fingerprints. Children smear things and make fingerprint marks. Advantage: Phone.

Durability: Even with scratch-resistant materials, children are constantly getting scuffed. While children’s self-repair tools are really impressive and unique, these tools come with a cost. Honestly, I would rather have a permanent scratch on my phone than to be notified every five seconds that “I has a owie.” Advantage: Phone.

Spellcheck: Siri makes a lot of mistakes, but even she would correct “I has a owie.” Advantage: Phone.

Voice-to-Text: Admittedly, I haven’t used V2T with children as much as with phones, largely because my first experience was so terrible. No matter how slowly or clearly I spoke, my attempt to have June tell T. Mike “Pick me up outside Breadman’s–bring money for the bill” was mangled into “I love you daddy. Pick me up! Pick me up! Pick me up!” Her software captured the first part of the message, but the transmission stripped out all “From” info, date/time, and the urgent flag. (I still have dishpan hands from having to work to pay that bill.) While I was able to leave a message for Charles very effectively using his John device, it was because I was just saying “blahhhhhbobobobobo mama dada truck” while drooling and pooping. But again, no sender info or timestamp. Kids are simply not suitable for mission-critical communication. Advantage: Phone.

Volume control: Phone has buttons on the side and a mute function. Kids don’t. Need I even point out this is a big advantage: Phone?

Portability: Even those stupid giant wanna-be tablet phones can fit in a pocket. KidOS users are required to supplement their unit with large amounts of hardware and software just to go to the store. Advantage: Phone.

Games: I know that KidOS installs additional apps and games over time, but the fact that it doesn’t even ship with basic smiling functionality is shameful. And let’s be honest, until the OS gets updated multiple times, the options are crap. “Peekaboo” is fun for like two minutes, but it gets old fast. Same for “Pattycake” and “I’ll drop the toy, you pick it up, repeat.” Also, the fact that the few initial games on offer don’t unload from memory and just keep running for hours is super annoying. And yes, later games like “Catch” are more fun, but again, the retention of the game in memory for hours is annoying. Plus, the fact that all more advanced KidOS games are microtransaction-based (the “Mom, I need $100 so I can be on traveling team!” alert is so familiar to KidOS users) means that bills can get out of control. Advantage: Phone.

Music: I don’t know where the “Wheels on the Bus” file is stored in my nephews, but I have been unable to delete it. Plus, the fidelity of music from KidOS units is fairly poor. Notice that Ava’s playback of “Let It Go” strips out all background instrumentation and alters the voice. You don’t have to be an audiophile to see that it’s advantage: Phone.


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