Only a phone call away

I’ve been following the hoo haa about Nancy being left in the pub by Mum and Dad and felt a touch of empathy as we have encountered a similar situation ourselves. It certainly did not surprise me to read in the news that it had happened to many other parents but what amazed me was the ‘commentators’ who thought these unfortunate children be taken into care immediately or worse! It must be wonderful to be so perfect but I am not sure their kids will want to be escorted to the loo as teenagers, I can see it now:

Mum: Hold my hand Kevin, roads are dangerous.

Kev: That’s SO not cool Mum!

Mum: When you leave home you can do what you like.

Kev: But Mum, I’m 32!

Mum: Exactly and I don’t want you talking to strangers again.

Just what age children can cross the road by themselves is a subject I’ll probably come back to.

Ben, Zoe and Lara have a tendency to independence which does mean it can be tricky to keep them all within eye shot 100% of the time. We are going to do our best to keep them close but the possibility exists that we may become separated. We have a few tricks up our sleeves like:

  • Dog Tags – We had these made up on our last trip with my mobile number and REWARD and they were really good at wearing them. More like a Daddy friendship bracelet.
  • Tyvek wristbands – The kids love these and associate them with good things like fun fairs and swimming. They stay on for days and you can write contact details on them. Waterproof as well.
  • Brightly coloured jackets
  • Some training – In Sainsburys we always go to the centre aisle if lost etc.
The thought also crossed my mind that one of those ankle bracelets they give to criminals might be a good idea if we could track it, I even found one at Tracking the World and another at GoTek, you can even have an iPhone App to track them. I am thinking about testing it, in the past I let Ben take an old iPhone to the shops as it had GPS in it and I could track him (and Mum could ring him) which was reassuring. I sketched out the spec for phones for BZL:
  • Quad band (work anywhere)
  • Dual SIM (UK and local in country for cheap calls)
  • Long battery life
  • Lightweight and small
  • Unlocked (works on any network/SIM)
  • Kid proof/useable
Sounds like a serious bit of kit but it turns out they are cheap as chips, I bought 3 x Telestial Kit V4D Dual-SIM Quad-band Phones on Amazon for £23.99/each, already unlocked! £10 Pay As You Go SIMs from Vodafone and sorted. The call charges in the ‘Rest of World’ are £1.65 outbound and £1.30 to receive calls which sounds steep but they are emergency use only, normal calls will be on Skype. Incoming text messages are free which is useful.

Kids + Phones = Happiness

Result is 3 made up kids. Signing up to Vodafone on PAYG got a load of free minutes so they have been practising. No problem for Ben and Zoe but I was amazed when Lara managed to unlock her phone and call me 15 minutes after I thought she was asleep! I don’t think kids are going to have a problem with technology.
Lara on her mobile phone

Sell my portfolio and put the money offshore so Mum can’t find it and stop my pocket money

Bonus is that we have backup phones and can use one of these in country with a local SIM card, cheaper and less nickable than flashing around an iPhone! No worries about big bills if lost on PAYG as you can’t pay more than your credit. On pay monthly you might get an £8000 bill like this unlucky gent who didn’t report his phone stolen straight away as it was ‘insured’. What happens is that even if your phone is locked the thief puts your SIM card in a new phone and dials premium rate numbers, overseas calls can take up to 48 hours to show in the UK on your account. Insurance policies generally cover for up to £1000 of calls and you get the bill until you have told the mobile phone company.

Top Mobile Security Tips

  1. LOCK YOUR SIM – an extra code to enter each time you turn on your phone but worth it
  2. Take a note of your phones IMEI number (Call *#06#) to give to your phone company
  3. Keep your phone company’s number handy and call them straight away after loss
  4. Use Pay As You Go
  5. Get a cheap phone

Now all we need to do is get BZL to carry their phones, easier said than done I suspect.

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