With less than a year of being on the market, the public is embracing Pinwheel's concept of a smartphone designed for kids. USA Today recently featured Pinwheel in an article reviewing what parents should consider before making that important purchase.
Brett Molina, USA Today's Consumer Tech Reporter, found that Atlanta mom Kim Miller chose to buy her son a Pinwheel phone before he returned to school and participated in after-school activities.
"Once he’s back into regular activities, since COVID is kind of dying out, that’s when I’m going to need him to have a phone," Miller said.
Miller notes that by using the Pinwheel phone's unique software, she can set certain hours that the phone will (and will not) function for him.
The article details how a child's age is not the most important factor, even though that's a common conversation. Instead, experts say that a child's mental and emotional maturity should dictate at what age to buy a smartphone for a child.
"Why does the kid want the phone? How would it be useful for the kid? How would it be useful for the family?" said Elisabeth Sylvan, the managing director of Harvard University's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.
Ultimately, experts note that since each child is unique, parents should use their own judgment based on what they think is best.
"The girls always worked around it by turning their phones off and taking out the Sim card for a couple minutes," Sawyer said.
Pinwheel's CEO, Dane Witbeck, created the Pinwheel operating system to solve the kid-phone problem. The device was designed specifically for kids, with a focus on improving their wellness. There is no web browser or social media, and the available apps require a two-step approval: first by the Pinwheel team and recommendations through their Therapist Council, who document any potential loopholes a child may find, and second, by the parent, who has the choice of whether to select the app in the Pinwheel Caregiver Portal.
The portal also allows parents to adjust permissions based on their values, the time of day and the type of day (such as a school day versus the weekend) through their tablet, laptop, or the Pinwheel Caregiver app (available on iOS & Android).