I had never heard of a Gabb phone until last weekend when my 10 and 8-year-old little sisters got their very first cell phones. These cell phones are not like any other kind of phone I’d ever had or heard of. They look like smartphones but aren’t. They operate a little bit like old-school flip phones, but not exactly. They’re a whole new kind of communication device meant just for kids. It’s a genius idea.

The Problem Gabb Phones Can Solve

My parents have been understandably concerned about the issue of phones for quite some time now. A lot of the girl’s friends already have full-blown smartphones, and a lot of parents have opted to go technology-free for as long as humanly possible. Neither of those options is perfect.

When my brother and I were young, we started out around the same age the girls are now with cheap little Verizon flip phones. They certainly weren’t the smartphones we have today, but they didn’t have any kind of parental control or limitations.

Now, these flip phones aren’t even really an option for parents. Not only are they perilously uncool, but they’re kind of hard to find. It’s not like there’s a huge market for cheap flip phones out there on the major networks. Instead, parents are left with some tough choices to make.

If parents opt for full smartphones, there are all sorts of potential dangers lurking when kids aren’t fully mature enough to understand how to navigate the full power of a smartphone responsibly. If parents opt for no phone at all, kids don’t have any way to contact their parents on the walk home from school or if they need to be picked up early from soccer practice. They have no way to communicate with their friends and family from afar, a privilege the rest of us sometimes take for granted.

What The Gabb Phone Does

The Gabb phone is a perfect middle ground. With the Gabb phone, my sisters can call and text me or anyone else in the family, whenever they want. They can take pictures, but not send or receive them. The phones have emojis because everybody loves emojis. They can do everything they need to do, without any of the apps that could potentially lead to trouble.

It is unreasonable to think that as a society, we can protect our children from the dangers of smartphones forever. But it’s also unreasonable to expect a young child to navigate the world of social media and photo messaging and cyberbullying right off the bat.

The Gabb phone provides a slow and careful introduction for children into the inevitable world of technology. Now, I can spend all afternoon texting my sisters without my parents having to worry about what else they’re getting up to on their phones. It’s the best of both worlds.