Sunday, April 09, 2006

Protective parents: Gold for cellular services?

CNET reports that "services catering to the under-14 age group and their parents could be the next big driver of growth in the cell phone industry." According to Disney Mobile, "cell phone penetration among about 24 million children between the ages of 10 and 14 in America is only 24 percent."

Charles Golvin at Forrester Research said, "Families will definitely be a meaningful market for mobile operators. There are some parents who want their kids to have cell phones for emergencies but aren't comfortable giving their kids a phone with no limits or restrictions."

The article looks at the efforts of Disney Mobile and others to allow parents to control the mobile phone habits of their children. For example, Disney has a Web site that allows parents to set up "a monthly allowance of voice minutes, text messages or other services for each child," and "restrict kids from using certain services and designate when other services can be used. In addition, parents can limit which numbers can be dialed as well as restrict certain numbers from ringing on the phone."

Julie Ask at JupiterResearch said, "Disney's offering is more comprehensive, in terms of parental control, than anything else I've seen on the market. But whether or not large numbers of parents subscribe to the Disney service may depend on pricing and the value of the services."

Back in the beginning of February, I said the network operators should be able to add these types of parental control features via a website. I guess only Disney was listening :-)