Project: Kid Comms

Hi Mesh Community!

Let me start by saying I’m new to this & am looking for feedback, insight, & ideas. I hope this project inspires other parents, & like-minded people. (If only just to start a well-meaning conversation…it’s worth it!). :smiley:

Full disclosure: I am not affiliated with any app, hardware or company of mention in the below!

Project Name: Kid Comms
Intent: Enable my 9-year-old son to effectively communicate via an old cell phone (Using goTennas) when he walks to school & back for safety check-ins. Help him build confidence & teach him technology responsibly.
Content: I want to experiment & share how/if the goTenna will work in my application & intent.

I’m a bit early to post findings or comment (Due to I just ordered a 4 pack of goTennas yesterday.) but being how all good projects are staged out, I will start early while I can, and report on different stages.

Stage 1: Setup my old Samsung Galaxy Note 5 for my son to use appropriately.
Stage 2: Test goTenna range & reliability in my geographical setting for this project’s specific need.
Stage 3: Implement communication procedures based on stage-2.
Stage 4: Implement a test run in a live environment (My Son walking to school.)
Stage 5: Final assessment.
Stage 6: Full implementation.

Currently, stage 1 is complete.

Assesment of Stage 1:
Dug up my old phone (Galaxy Note 5) and got to work.
Took out the old SIM card > Factory default > Update to the latest firmware (Android 7) > Create a new Gmail account > uninstalled as much bloatware as possible > researched how to lock down all apps & functions besides the following:
Contacts Helpful for him to know my + wife’s number.
Gotenna For the obvious reason.
Camera I don’t see too much harm in this.
Gallery To view photos.
Voice recorder Press > record a local conversation. Maybe handy?
Clock Obvious.
Calculator Again, Obvious.
S-note Handy.
One thing I found was that Android doesn’t have the options built-in to heavily restrict a user’s ability to control the device & Samsung deliberately strips multi-users as a default. Rooting the phone to gain this option seemed like a waste of time for me as I want the stability of the stock firmware. I looked around & found an application that I’m extremely happy with = AppLock Yes, it’s free. This app blew me away with its granularity of access controls & fits the bill to completely narrow the phone down to any size deemed acceptable of a sandbox. Also, a huge plus, the app can run in “invisible mode” so the application doesn’t show under “apps”. It can block access to any function or app by promoting a pin to unlock or showing the “Unfortunately X has stopped” to seem like it’s an issue of the phone rather than implemented access controls.
Key options to restrict IMHO:
Wifi His buddies have open phones & hotspotting is easy to perform. This option is disabled at ALL TIMES.
Phone Settings For the obvious reasons.
USB data connections No reason for anyone to link to this device outside of the home.
All other apps Not having data connections on this phone means all other applications are useless (it’s sort of the point) so why garner access when unusable.

Son’s reaction:
He LOVES the idea! (Well he’s getting a phone out of it all and get’s to better “fit in” with his hipe peers.) He can’t stop talking about it. :smiley:

My reaction:
I LOVE the idea! It’s truly a gateway to start a conversation on responsible tech usage and it allows me to be able to now slowly open up access to the phone as he matures and shows responsible use of technology. :smiley:

If you’ve read thus far, thank you! I hope this project will, at least, spark the conversation of responsible tech usage and how goTenna can be used with kids.
I can’t wait to see the ideas & comments you all come up with.

Stay tuned for Stage 2!

-J H


Hey! Do you have an updates on Kid Comms?


+1! super interested in this

@anon62894636 @danielagotenna

I’m sorry I haven’t updated this project yet. Truth is, due to summer vacation, we haven’t used the gotennas for stage two. (well we did a small test and the range blew me away! But haven’t tested reliability. )
I promise to update on stage two during the last week of August. (As usage will ramp up)
I most definitely haven’t scrapped the project!!

Thanks for the interest!

  • J H