Toy phones aren’t toys any more

Have you noticed that the phone you have to buy for six year old children to play with gets technologically more advanced and correspondingly far more expensive as the generations go by?

Heck, today every child has at the very least an iPhone. Some even have proper mobile phones.

Strangely, nobody – not even the grown-ups – seems to care about a mobile phone’s ability to make and receive calls.

Never in any review is the telephonic audio quality ever discussed or rated. Instead, a mobile phone’s success or failure is measured by its camera quality, or the speed it uses to connect to the internet, or the space it has for all the apps.  Very bizarre.

Anyway, for children, it’s now an essential ‘toy’, is the mobile phone.

And yet, it wasn’t that long ago that a child’s phone was, well, an actual toy.

And before that it was an improvised couple of tin cans and a piece of string.

Have things gone a little too far, or is this just an indicator of how wealthy even the ‘poor’ of this country actually are?

One comment

  1. A short history of toy phones in my experience:

    1. When I was a little ‘un, I had a brightly-coloured mock-up of a late-’80s “brick” phone, complete with pull-out aerial! The only thing it did was have a wind-up mechanism which rang a bell when you pushed one of the buttons, or you could pull a switch and let it ring. Meanwhile, the one real phone in each house (a rotary dial one as I recall) was not a toy, though my 4-year-old self probably thought it was when trying to call Germany despite having no idea of international dialling codes or the numbers of any of our actual German relatives, hence getting the “this number has not been recognized” recorded message.

    2. Then my sister, in the ’90s, got an electronic one (smaller, black) which actually made noises and voices when you pressed different buttons. (Including a very American sounding “this number has not been recognized”.) Real mobile phones were only for “rich people”, still.

    3. My first actual mobile phone, capable of calls, texts, bleepy ringtones and maybe the odd simple game, had to wait ’til I was sixteen.


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