But here's good news for you fans of complete cacophony -- telecom corporations are now moving to fill this last void by marketing kiddy phones. These are extra-small to fit those tiny hands; they're painted such fun colors as "bubble gum" and feature cartoon characters on the display screens.
Disney, for example, is teaming up with Sprint to provide phones to your 8- to-12-year-old. "It's a segment of the market that's under-penetrated," says a Sprint official, who is vice president for silly thoughts and unfortunate phrasing. Another company is targeting kiddos as young as 6, and -- get ready -- Mattel toys is planning a Barbie phone.
To weasel into this "market," corporations are pitching parents with the smarmy message that buying cell phones for tiny ones is really all about child safety -- helping you and your children be constantly connected. Fine. But let me pose as old Mr. Grump here with a couple of inconvenient questions.
One, who else besides parents might give a ringy-dingy to your youngsters? Pedophiles, for example. Two, what's the impact on your child's health? The chairman of a prestigious British medical board warned this year that children are particularly vulnerable to the radiation danger of these phones, declaring, "I don't think we can put our hands on our hearts and say mobile phones are safe."
Oh, one more -- won't advertisers use junior's cell phone as yet another medium to hawk stuff? Coca-Cola and McDonald's are already launching all-out ad campaigns via mobile phones, and nothing stops them from hustling your kid without you even knowing about it.
To do something, call Commercial Alert: (503) 235-8012.