A couple days ago, Apple announced two new iPhones and parents around the world should be rejoicing at some of the new features. It’s no secret children love gadgets – they fascinate, teach, engage and entertain toddlers and teens. Parents love them too because gadgets are great at keeping kids busy and can act as a teaching tool. However, when you’re running out the door and your iPhone is being washed in the sink with soap and water by your [very helpful] two year old, your iPad is hidden, or your pre-teen won’t stop sending Snapchats at dinner, these gadgets can suddenly seem like the worst thing… ever. And don’t forget that horrible feeling when your kid gets their license and texting and driving becomes a thing you have to worry about.
Both of the new iPhones and the operating system introduced yesterday by Apple have features that may help curb some of the issues parents have with gadgets. If you’re a parent, you should consider these when you’re making your next phone purchase.
The iPhone 5C is made of plastic
Plastic is harder to crack if its dropped, stomped, rolled over or otherwise broken.
The iPhone 5S has an accelerometer
Although apps don’t exist for this yet, I can only assume some company – likely an insurance company – will come up with an app that stops the phone from being used if you’re driving. Not only is this forced technology-free time, but it may also curb a person’s inclination to text while driving.
…and a fingerprint reader
This is a parent’s dream for those gadget-thieving children and for parents who are trying to curb technology usage in their preteens. Passcodes can be guessed. Heck, the NSA probably has them all too. Fingerprints cannot be easily replicated.
iOS7 integrates into your car
For parents with teenage drivers, this can be huge. Soon, you’ll be able to go completely hands-free in your car, and it will be integrated with systems that are already built in. Kids and parents alike can control music, read and respond to texts, and answer calls all with voice commands.
…has voice-only FaceTime
For parents who work late nights, families that are spread across the country, kids who go on sleepovers, or students who are studying abroad, this new FaceTime feature can allow you to talk to your kids without the awkwardness of the video component – for free.
…and Activation Lock
There’s nothing worse for a parent than a call from their teenager or college-aged child saying their phone was stolen at the gym or they lost it on the public transit system. The new Activation Lock is a great way to make sure your phone won’t be used by someone who gets their hands on it, decreasing the cost of all those minutes they may use, and increasing the likelihood that you’ll get it back.
We’re constantly hearing “my kid stole my iThing” in the office, and in our broken iPhone contest earlier this year, we heard a lot of stories about how children have unintentionally broken a phone. Parents who keep older generations of phones for their children when they get new ones often find their newest generation device being fought over between siblings, leaving them with nothing. Plus, your old technology still has some value and can be turned into cash – cash you can use to buy your new iPhone, a day at the spa, or groceries for the week; you’ll rest easy knowing its found a new home that isn’t the sticky hands of your child.