There are no social media platforms
Real-time GPS tracking
While it is important to allow older children some autonomy, it can be challenging for parents to let their children venture on their own.
If you’ve been thinking of getting your kids a cell phone, but you’re concerned that they’re not quite ready for a full smartphone, a Gabb phone offers an internet and social media-free way to keep in touch with your kids when they’re not with you.
What is the Gabb telephone?
Essentially a portable version of the analog telephones most of us grew up with, the Gabb phone for kids offers the ability to talk and text—and not much else.
There’s no internet access, no social media, and no apps or games, but it does feature GPS tracking as well as optional kid-safe music streaming (meaning no explicit lyrics).
The standard Gabb subscription doesn’t allow users to send and receive images or group texts, but that can be added for an additional fee with the MMS add-on.
Gabb wireless which network
Gabb’s own network is the Gabb wireless network. However, they connect through Verizon. On the plus side this means that Gabb users can take advantage of Verizon’s huge network. The downside, however, is that since Gabb has its own network, you can’t add a Gabb phone to your existing plan, even if you’re a Verizon customer.
What is the cost of a Gabb phone
Although the Gabb wireless phone is completely free, you will need to pay a monthly fee in order to connect to it.
For unlimited talk and text messages it’s $24.99 a month with a two-year contract. If you want to add the MMS feature it’s an extra $2 a month, and a warranty that covers damage from drops and spills will run you another $4.99 per month.
Gabb’s music feature is completely free for the first 30 calendar days. After that, it costs $4.99 per month.
What we like
It gives parents peace-of-mind
Kids need independence as they get older, but as a parent it can be nerve-wracking not knowing where they are during the day—especially if they take public transportation to or from school.
I was concerned that since the Gabb phone doesn’t have internet it wouldn’t offer the ability to track my kids’ whereabouts, but, in fact, it has real-time GPS tracking so that I was able to simply open the Gabb app and see where my kids were at any point during the day.
Parents can also set multiple “safe zones” through the companion app, so that when kids and their Gabb phones venture outside of the preset boundaries, they’ll receive a notification. I set safe zones for our neighborhood, the kids’ school, and the various locations of their extracurricular activities.
It allows me to easily communicate with my children
You can text or call the Gabb phone, no matter what language you prefer. I was able to shoot my kiddo a text if I just had a question about something random—like what snacks they wanted from Trader Joe’s—but I also had the option to call their Gabb phone for more urgent matters like a change in who was picking them up from school, or that tennis class had been canceled.
The Gabb phone doesn’t have the magic ability to make them respond with more than just a “k,” but at least it gave me peace of mind that I always had an easy way to keep in touch with them throughout the day.
It doesn’t have any distractions
My kids’ biggest complaint about the Gabb phone is exactly what I liked about it: There’s no internet, no social media, and no video games.
The last thing I want my 8- and 9-year-old kids to have is a cell phone with unfettered access to the web, so the fact that they found the Gabb phone “boring” is why it appeals to parents.
You can easily communicate with your kids without worrying that they’re going to end up on the dark web when they should be learning fractions.
What we didn’t like
There’s no ability to block calls from non-approved numbers
While most kids’ smartwatches (including the Gabb watch) have a feature that enables parents to control which numbers can call them, the Gabb phone does not.
This is called a huge My opinion is negative because I want the truth about who is calling me and my children. Actually, the Gabb phone received many calls from random numbers when it was first set up. I was able to block calls from numbers that weren’t familiar, but I really didn’t like that random phone numbers were able to call in the first place.
This feels like a big parental control oversight, especially in a world of so many phone scams that younger kids wouldn’t be savvy enough to recognize.
It can end up being very expensive
For a device that pretty much offers just texting and calling, the monthly fee feels high—especially if your kid wants some of the add-ons. Yes, Gabb wireless offers unlimited phone calls and texts, but I would guess that any of the kids who have a Gabb phone aren’t using it all that much.
Kids who will really utilize the unlimited texting or calling feature are older—and more likely to have an actual smartphone.
They won’t always have it with them
Contrary to a smartwatch that kids wear on their bodies, their phone will more often be lost in their backpack, or worse, in lost and found. Smartwatches offer the same features of a phone but are less likely to be left behind.
Gabb phone: should you?
Yes, if your child is absolutely determined to get a phone.
If your kid has been begging for a cell phone, but you’re uncomfortable giving them a device that can access the internet, the Gabb phone is a fantastic choice.
It still gives them a phone that can be used to call or text with family and friends, but parents won’t have to worry about the dangers of unfettered internet or social media access. The Gabb phone feels like a great first step for kids who are old enough to have some independence but not quite old enough to contend with the questionable content that’s lurking behind the screen of a smartphone.
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The prices were correct at the time of publication, but they may change in time.
There are no social media platforms
Real time GPS tracking