The internet is great because it makes it easy to stay in touch with friends and family, but it can also be a scary place, especially for kids. They can surf to smutty websites or end up chatting with strangers. Not good. The people behind a new product, Ily, think they have a way for kids to use all the good of the internet without all the bad. Ily works similarly to FaceTime, Skype, and WhatsApp, which is basically to say that it allows for video calling. Insensi, the company behind the device, says the difference between its product and an app is how users are segmented off from the internet, which it thinks makes it ideal for kids. The “family phone” relies on Ily’s app to make calls over Wi-Fi, and users can only call people who have already been added to their contacts. Amazon’s Alexa also allows for voice controls, and it can load Spotify separately.
By keeping the device focused on video calls, it’s easy for older and younger users to learn, the company says. Although it clearly wants people to invest in the phones, it acknowledges that not everyone will, so Ily users can also call people with the free iOS or Android app on their phones. Owners can also rent a local phone number for their device to use it more as a landline for an unspecified fee. The Ily is available for preorder on Kickstarter starting May 10th and will eventually retail for $299.