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We recently purchased a new cellular phone for our eight year old son. The phone allows him to make or receive calls only from a defined list of telephone numbers, which we enter into it, and provides emergency 911 access. A few months ago a friend of his from school came over and she had a new LG Migo “kid-friendly” cellular phone from Verizon Wireless. Once we saw the LG Migo, we knew we’d be getting him a cellular phone long before we had initially planned. While the Migo is a neat device, we ended up going with the Firefly, which uses Cingular’s network.

The Firefly can be used as a pre-paid device or you can subscribe to a monthly service plan. As with nearly all pre-paid services, the per minute rates are a little outrageous ($.25/min.), but since we anticipate minimal usage we should be alright for the immediate future. The fact of the matter is this was an impulse purchase, and we may eventually change to the LG Migo and Verizon Wireless anyway.

FireFly originalBoth devices provide similar functionality, a simplified keypad, pre-defined list of names/numbers, and an emergency call button. The Firefly allows up to 22 numbers to be programmed, one each for the “Mom” & “Dad” keys, then 20 in the directory. The LG Migo only allows a total of 4 numbers to be programmed. The Migo, however, does provide speakerphone and can be used as a GPS locator if you subscribe to the related service.

The GPS locator service for the LG Migo is called “Chaperone” and it allows parents to locate the device via their cellular handset or PC. The basic Chaperone service is billed at $9.99/month, but they also offer a $19.99/month plan that provides notifications to the parents when the Migo leaves a pre-defined area.

While our son isn’t allowed to take his new Firefly to school, he takes it everywhere else he goes. We still have and use our Motorola 2-way radios when he visits his friends down the street, but these “kid-friendly” cellular phones provide even more peace of mind. He spent the night at a friend’s last night and just called me from his new Firefly as I was writing this. Was it an emergency? No, he just wanted to say hi and was wondering what I was doing, and I’m totally okay with that.

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