These days, prying a cell phone out of a kid’s hand has become more difficult than ever as their access to technology has become near ubiquitous. As the average age of children receiving their first cell phone continues to decrease year by year — currently sitting at age 10 — more and more problems have come to light surrounding the potential security issues and long-term mental effects brought on by the use of smartphones at an early age. As such, father and businessman Stephen Dalby invented Gabb Wireless in September 2019, creating a first-of-its-kind children-oriented phone network that provides plans and devices to keep kids connected, without fostering technological dependence.
With statistics showing that 1 in 5 children receive a cell phone by age 8, it’s become imperative to keep their still-developing brains safe from the potential dangers offered by cellphones. As most smartphones are created with people of legal age in mind, finding an adequate phone without adult features that still feels up-to-date and not antiquated was all but impossible until Dalby’s Gabb Wireless revealed its first Gabb phone, the Z1, flipping the script of what a ‘safe’ cell phone looks like on its head.
Since the introduction of the Z1 in 2019, Gabb has since released their newer phone model, the Z2, showcasing their newest sleek design and 14 included essential apps. The Z2 boasts ease of communication and emphasis on safety between parent and child, with GPS tracking capabilities and unlimited data used to make phone calls and texts. Packed with all of the necessary functional features, Gabb Wireless’ Z2 device allows kids to call, text, take photos and calculate, all in a sleek touchscreen design akin to adult models available on the market. But here is where Gabb Wireless truly stands apart: it’s built to disable access to the internet, social media and games. Thus, the Gabb Wireless’ Z2 gives all the positive characteristics a parent seeks out in a cell phone for their child, without any of theaddicting fillers included.
This company could not have come at a better, more necessary time. Combined with the ever-increasing necessity of technology in society with the COVID-19 pandemic, various studies have estimated that the rising generation of kids aged 8-12 spend around 4-6 hours on screens daily. Teenagers’ screen time is even more alarming, amassing a total of 9 hours per day on devices, most of which is spent on social media and video streaming/gaming platforms, solely entertainment. These studies report that out of this time, none of it was spent for educational purposes.
“The great thief of opportunity today is distraction; it’s technology and how much time these kids are spending on their screens,” Dalby revealed. “How many scholarships have been lost? How many friendships have been missed? How many academic achievements have been jeopardized, all because kids are glued to screens instead of becoming proficient in another area of their life. So instead of asking what this phone is trying to prevent, the real question is, what is the phone trying to enable kids to do and to become?”
In addition to their Z2 device, in June 2021, Gabb Wireless revealed the Gabb Watch. This kid-friendly smartwatch built for both kids and parents’ enjoyment provides GPS capabilities, a built-in contact list for talk and text, and dirt-resistant material perfectly designed for active children. An additional aspect of the Gabb Watch is the light-hearted Gabb Go app; a task-manager app specifically designed for kids, with fun incentives to help kids achieve their goals, set by them and their parents. Through the app, once tasks have been completed and checked off, kids can earn coins and feed pets as incentives, nurturing productive and proactive habits that will develop further with age. This early introduction to goal setting and achievement can have lasting positive impacts on academic and athletic performance, carrying on to all aspects of the kids’ lives.
Armed with a solution to screen time dependencies and unsafe web surfing alike, Stephen Dalby’s Gabb Wireless has revolutionized the way we communicate with our children, ultimately setting them up for a safer and less screen-heavy future in the process.