Tech that gives kids back their childhood and parents their mental health

Tech that gives kids back their childhood and parents their mental health

It’s every urban parent’s modern dilemma.

You want your young children to get outside more — to roam and explore and gain their independence — but at the same time you want to know where they are and that they’re safe.

There is that moment in every parent’s life as their child gets to around 6 or 7 years old where you know that it would probably be OK if they were out-and-about in your local neighbourhood with their friends and without you. Nonetheless, you have that niggling doubt about if you can trust them to stay safe and to return home by themselves (or stay where you agreed to pick them up).

It is also roughly the same moment in life where you wonder whether they are having too much “screen time” and wish you could manage their exposure to TV, Tablets and Smartphones.

Why do these two common themes clash with each other? Because one of the obvious solutions to the first issue would be to give them a smart or “dumb” phone (or even a Smart Watch) so you can stay in touch while they’re out. But that is the exact opposite of what you want to do in reality. In fact, 70% of parents we recently surveyed don’t plan to give their child a smart device until they are older than 10.

Giving them the phone would of course mean you can check-in on them to varying degrees and would put your mind at rest. But can you be sure they don’t then just meet up with their friends and start playing games or trying to browse the internet? 90% of parents in a recent survey said they would allow their children to go out more / roam free if they could know where they were.

So what is the middle way? The middle way tends to be that the parents of children 6–10 years old need to remain in touch with each other constantly over the phone and with messages to coordinate where their kids are and when they’re going to meet. Just another thing to add on top of work, shopping, chores, sports classes and (hopefully) a social life

It was this dilemma and the current lack of a solution that led to the creation of

Karri Devices is a device that for a child is like a walkie-talkie. But for parents, it’s an all-in-one solution that provides them with:

  • A closed-channel contact point to their children when out and about
  • A connection using the cell phone network (not radio), so range or signal in the city is not an issue
  • An easy-to carry device for your child that has no screen
  • A device that offers unbeatable battery-life and reliability
  • A way for you to track where they are and make sure they know where they’re allowed to be

But how does this work in the real-world?

Let’s take the example of Annette, a 39-year old from Berlin who lives just outside the main city centre, works full-time and has 2 kids of 4 and 8.

Her 8-year old, Flora, is allowed to watch TV and occasionally use the Tablet, but otherwise has no “screens” of her own.

She is also now able to walk home by herself from school and is always asking to meet her friends in the afternoon.

Annette begins each afternoon by trying to send messages to the parents of Flora’s friends, seeing if they’re able to meet-up.

After several back-and-forth exchanges, she postpones a work call so she can bring Flora to meet her friends a few hundred metres away.

She tells Flora to stay in that area and that she will collect her in exactly 2 hours — in no case should she cross the busy road to come home early.

Annette then spends most of the 2 hours (also during her work call) fretting about Flora and if she is OK.

When she returns, Flora is not where she was supposed to be and has actually gone inside with one of her friends

Annette exchanges messages with Flora’s friends parents again until she works out where she is before finally picking her up

Then Annette gets a Karri for her daughter — how do things look now?

Annette receives a voice message on her Smartphone Karri app at 13:00 from Flora saying she is leaving school and is going to meet her friends at the park nearby, if it’s OK?

Annette agrees and says Flora can stay there until 5pm but then should send her a message to say when she is coming back

Annette does a quick check on her Karri app to ensure Flora is where she says she is and that the park is inside the Geo-fenced area she set. She then settles down to an afternoon of work

At 4pm, Flora sends a voice message asking if it’s ok for her to go to her friends until 5pm, Annette sends one back saying it’s fine and she should send another message when it’s time to collect her

Even 8 year-olds can organise their own collections

At 5:15pm, Annette receives a voice message from her daughter saying she can get her at 5:30pm

At 5:30pm, Annette collects her daughter

No screens.

No worrying about where they are.

No organising with other parents.

No stress.

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