Technology & Science

Japanese cellphone can blare alarm when child in trouble

Japanese cellphone company NTT DoCoMo has launched a phone for children that is packed with safety features, including a 100-decibel alarm that can be set to go off in an emergency.

Japanese cellphone company NTT DoCoMo has launched a mobile phone for children that features a number of security features, including a 100-decibel alarm that can be switched on in an emergency.

The FOMA F801i produces two types ofalternating noises when its alarm function is switched on, as well as emittingabright lightthat isvisible to nearby onlookers.

The phone can be set to notify loved ones when the alarm is set off, as well as provide the handset's location, DoCoMo said Monday. Theusers canalso message their locations to other usersby pushing a button on the side of the phone.

Thephone, manufactured by Fujitstu and available in bright colours,can be preset to turn itself back on after being switched off and send a message reporting the incident to another user.

DoCoMo's phone, which goes on sale in Japan on Dec. 20, comes with a bright yellow neck- or wrist-worn amulet that allows the child to locate a misplaced phone by beeping when within 10 metres of the handset.

The announcement met with some criticism, with technology website Akihabara News criticizing DoCoMo for trying to capitalize on parents' fears for their children.

"Are you seriously thinking of the well-being of our kids, like my daughter, with this kind of product, or are you just trying hard to generate more money, and making sure that kids will want to get a mobile phone for the rest of their lives?" wrote an Akihabara reviewer.

DoCoMo, ina news release, said it is committed to providing children with education on the proper use of cellphones. The company said its Mobile Phone Safety Program has conducted more than3,600 workshops for some 540,000 peoplein Japan since 2004.