Relay – A phone alternative for children

Disclosure: The below was provided to me to help facilitate my review. All opinions are my own and honest. I am disclosing this in accordance to FTC Guidelines. Please see “Disclose” and "Terms of Use" tabs for more information.

For parents of young kids, you will often feel pressure to buy your child a smartphone. What to do when you know your child is not ready, but you want to stay in contact with them? Relay is an option for parents who want to be able to stay connected to their kids, but don’t want even more of a battle over screen time or who know that their child is too young or otherwise not ready for a phone. You an also use it as a walkie talkie.
Age by Age Guide to Relay:Under 6, screens aren’t appropriate but young children can benefit from learning to communicate and will have fun with the walkie-talkie like features;
  • Learn responsibility and communication skills
  • Fun features for playtime (Echo Channel, Music)
  • Communicate throughout the house
  • Novelty of walkie-talkie like communication
Ages 6-7, kids in the early grades are off to friends for playdates after school and benefit from the security of staying in touch while also spreading their wings;
  • Give your child their first taste of independence; allow them to play in the neighborhood, ride bikes, see friends for playdates, etc. while being able to safely stay in touch with them
  • Monitor their whereabouts through GPS tracking
  • Enhance their playtime with friends via Instant Chat (chat channel between friends on different accounts) as well as Echo Channel, Music, etc.
Ages 8- 10, kids starting team sports benefit from the independence of this time away from home and starting to organize their own after school time
  • Communicate drop-off/pick-up for after-school activities
  • Ask permission for new opportunities
  • Independent communication with other family members (grandparents, etc.)
Ages 11-12, busy middle schoolers benefit from more freedom after school to visit with friends independently
  • Healthy and active social life
  • Provides all essentials without needing to access internet
  • Reverse negative trends and pressures such as less time spent on physical activities and outdoor endeavors
  • Thought leadership in tweens – helps tweens be leaders instead of followers
How it works:
  • Relay works over 4G LTE and Wi-Fi, so it has unlimited range and works everywhere a phone does. You could be in NYC talking to someone in California just as clearly as if you were in the same room.
  • It’s super simple to use: just press the button, talk and release
  • There are two other buttons on the side: one for volume and one for powering on off/changing channels
  • You can talk Relay to Relay, or Relay to app. The companion app is where you manage the Relays on your account – you can see where they are via GPS tracking, add channels to your account and talk directly with the Relays on your account

I have noticed a few issues with Relay- one is that they don’t hold a charge longer then 4-6 hours. Another is that they use a very unique charger, so if you lose it or forget it, that will be problematic for charging. A charging wire that is universal is always preferred for ease and so it is easily replaced when it is inevitable lost or damaged.

The biggest issue for me was that you, the parent, will need to have the app up and running on your phone at all times, or you can’t receive calls to your child(ren).  Along with the battery drain that causes, is the problem that you won’t always know when your child wants to call you, thus you will likely miss calls. I don’t know if there is a workaround for that, but I have not found one yet.

As you know that we prefer products that give back and/or are sustainable and fair, we are happy to tell you that Relay is donating $5 from each of the next 5,000 Relays sold will go to support Common Sense Education, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to helping students harness technology for learning and life by providing teachers and schools with free research-based classroom tools.

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