This is a guest post from Saginaw, MI residents Jeff and Brittany DeHaven. Jeff works in digital media helping businesses of all shapes and sizes better utilize online communication platforms. Brittany is a first-grade teacher who has a big heart for teaching and making a difference in the lives of children.
I was first introduced to the GizmoPal by LG from Verizon through my niece. As a techie, I instantly wanted one for my daughter. After enrolling my 5-year-old in kindergarten and working on details of pick-up arrangements with my family, I felt the GizmoPal would be a great benefit to my family. There is just no way my daughter would remember who is picking her up on what day and from what location. The ability to set up pre-scheduled check-ins to ensure she’s been picked up certainly gives me peace of mind. After a quick explanation of the device and functions, my daughter caught on in no time. I chose to turn off the fun sounds as we introduced this as a “special phone” and not a toy. The phone microphone and speaker work very well and her grandparents enjoy keeping in touch through the ability to call her directly. As my daughter is learning time, she finds a level of independence in being able to hold down the single button for three seconds to hear the time.
A few things my wife and I would like to see added through the next generation GizmoPal or a simple software update would be the ability to customize the contact names. Right now when adding “Caregivers” (those who the child can call), it gives you a list of general names. This is important as when the child goes to make a call via pressing the button twice, it says "press once for Dad" or "two for ___" (Grandma, Grandpa, Friends, Neighbor, Nanny, Other).
With family dynamics today, it would be nice to customize names for step-parents or unique nicknames for grandparent(s) or guardians. It would also be nice to be able to add more than two additional approved contacts who can call into the device. You can switch contacts, but it’s not as smooth as it could be. Lastly, if the child holds the button down for too long, the device will turn off. It would be nice to approve an “off mode” or to be able to turn back on the device through the parent app. However, you do get notifications when the device has been turned off. We even found the need for the device to go beyond the target audience. My grandmother (who can’t get around easily and is legally blind) was having difficulty seeing the numbers on a standard home phone. With the GizmoPal, she is now able to call her husband with ease if he is out and about.
All-in-all, I love the GizmoPal and look forward to allowing my family to connect with my daughter using this new-technology. The GizmoPal has an affordable unit rate, a small monthly line access fee and no annual contract. There is certainly nothing to lose with the GizmoPal, only from Verizon.