My daughter is 8 and has been asking for a mobile for just over a year now. Nearly all the kids in her class have smartphones and she felt incredibly left out. The main thing making me hold off buying her a phone was safety. I didn’t like the idea that she could be talking to absolutely anyone and I wouldn’t know about it. I wanted the safest smartphone for kids.
After lamenting over the worries of phone ownership for tween girls publicly on my blog, I was contacted by Monqi to see if my daughter might like to try one of their child-centred smartphones. I said yes because the idea behind it was so impressive, I’d have been stupid not to!
Monqi is unique in that it’s a smartphone aimed for children and controlled by adults.
How does that work? You might wonder. You’d even be forgiven for thinking the phone needs a parent to enter a password or some other physical restriction for use.
Monqi is much slicker than that!
The phone works in harmony with an app on the parent’s phone. The child’s smartphone is controlled via the app, which can restrict time spent on apps on the child’s phone, the apps they choose to download, how long they can spend on the phone, how many texts they can send, and even has geo fencing to set restricted areas when you child is out with their friends.
What’s in the box?
The box contains the handset, USB cable and mains adaptor, earphones, a clear case for protection, and instructions.
How did we get on with the phone?
The phone was incredibly easy to set up and we were both able to use it straight away. Emma wanted to download YouTube, which I had to approve, and I was able to either accept or decline. I decided to decline, and we then searched for ‘Kids YouTube’. She also downloaded a few more apps and I received a dialogue box each time, like when wanted to use the browser:
We were sent a pre-paid sim, so I restricted data so it wasn’t used up immediately!
While Emma had a play on the phone, I investigated what my app could do. It turns out, I can see her actions and what she’s been playing on. I can also track her live movement, except she was in my lounge, so I decided not to bother.
I also really like the geo fencing option. This means that I can set a ‘safe’ area that I’m happy for Emma to play in, and if she goes outside of this zone, I get a notification. You can also set it as big or small as you like, which I think is fabulous for trust as your child gets older. It stands to reason that a 12 year old would be allowed further from home than a 7 year old.
What did Emma think of the Monqi smartphone?
Emma really liked it. She felt very grown up being allowed her own phone and loves the free apps she’s tried from the Jungle Store. She’s happy that I’m not peering over her shoulder while she’s using it and is pleased she doesn’t have to hand her phone over if she wants to do something new on it (she’s very protective!).
The app store doesn’t have all the apps available on it, but app developers are constantly improving on this.
Features I love
- Remote lock and disable has proven handy at bedtime. I particularly like that she can’t go against what we’ve agreed and get her phone back out when she’s in bed (this has actually happened with her tablet in the past.)
- Parental contact management puts my mind as ease. There’s no way that she can be talking to anyone unsuitable if I approve all of her contacts.
- App management has already proven helpful when I wanted to get her Kids YouTube instead of the regular one.
- Geo fencing is a huge one for me. I hate her playing out of sight, even if I know she’s really close, I hate not having her visible to me. This should make the summer playing with her friends outside far less stressful for both of us.
All in all, we’re both really impressed with the phone and I think it’s perfect for kids her age, right up to age 12/13. The camera takes great photos, she feels like she’s got loads of freedom, and you can buy fun cases for the handset too (it’s a similar shape to some of the Samsungs).
In case you’re here for the tech, here’s the specs:
- Android 6.0 and Monqi OS
- 0” HD Display
- 13MP rear camera, 5MP front camera
- Up to 7 hours talk time
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled
- 5GHZ Quad Core Processor with 8GB RAM
- Can add a 32GB mirco SD
- Jungle Store with 150 free apps
The Monqi kids smartphone is exclusive to Carphone Warehouse, prices start at £149.99 for sim-free
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