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I had just been following the recent and tragic story of Jessica, the missing 10 year old from Colorado, whose body was found after she had been kidnapped.  It made my heart sick.  I can’t imagine what that little girl was going through, and what her family continues to go through.  It’s horrible to know that the monster who did this is still out there.  It’s horrible to know that there are people in the world who have desires to hurt children.  Ugh, ugh, ugh….it’s so upsetting.

While following this story, I was shaken by just a brief incidence in my own neighborhood, a neighborhood that could easily be perceived as ‘nice.’  It’s one of those things that could have been ‘nothing at all,’ but it sure has made me amp up my caution.  Last week, three of my kids were walking to the end of my road to meet their friend, who was coming from his house to ours.  They were meeting half-way, both walking to the end of their road, have done it several times, and either myself or the other mom will contact each other, once they arrive.  The friend was just two houses away from his own when a white work van drove past him, saw him and pulled over to the side of the road.  He opened the door and leaned out, yelling, ‘Hey kid, come here!’  This little friend did exactly what we hoped, turned around and ran back home, with the guy yelling after him, ‘Come back here!’  The mom immediately called me and I ran up the road to bring my kids back.  We reported it to the police, talked to all of our kids, and that was that.  Now, who knows…maybe this guy was clueless and thought it was okay to ask a kid directions…or something.  I don’t know.  But, it seems a little strange. And, it’s extremely frustrating!  It’s ridiculous to have to worry so much about my children being outdoors…in their own neighborhood, on their own street, in their own yard, even.  I think I did a post similar to this a while ago, after I caught someone watching my little girl play, from across the street.

Anyway, it got me thinking…I wonder if there are any great products out there that would be helpful in situations like that. Helpful…along with intuition, screaming, running away, etc.  Obviously, nothing would be fool-proof, but I started doing my research.  I’m so happy to tell you that I found two things that I really, really love…bought them both (yes, with my own money…nobody is paying me to say anything.)

First up, the PocketFinder GPS Tracker.  It’s a small circular, water-proof, sturdy device that you can throw in a backpack, hook on a belt loop, or wherever.  In the unfortunate event that your child went missing, you would easily and instantly be able to track their exact location online or on with an app on  your smart phone.  You can see the history of where they’ve been, how fast they have been traveling, and even set up alerts to notify you if they leave a specific area.

To test it out, I attached it to my husband’s backpack while he went hunting over the weekend.  It was really neat to be able to see it work.  I could tell how fast his car was driving :), and where he was.  Even when he was up in the mountains, I had his exact location (latitude and longitude), and could tell if he was moving or stationary.  I knew when he was walking (4 mph), and I knew when he was on the 4-wheeler (9 mph).  And, I knew when he was on his way home.  It was awesome!  I know a lot of people like the PocketFinder to keep track of their pets, cars, and the elderly or handicapped.  But, I love it for my kids (and my hunting-husband.)  It’s fairly pricey, at $149 and their is a $12 dollar monthly service plan.  However, I think it will come in so handy for those times where the kids walk to their friend’s house, visit an amusement park, walk the dog, whatever.

Second, I found the greatest kid’s cell phone, ever.  I’ve been telling everyone about it!  It’s called Just 5 and is the perfect emergency phone (it’s also been featured on CBS News, CNET, and Today.)  Everything about it is super simple…from the big buttons, no frilly features, and a special button for calling mom or dad.  But, the best part is the S.O.S. button on the back of the phone.  If kids are in an emergency, all they have to do is push the S.O.S. button, and it will automatically dial 5 pre-programmed numbers.  First, sending them a simultaneous text saying ‘I’m in an emergency, please call now!’ Then, it will call each one in the prioritized order, while signaling a loud alarm.  The first person to answer or return a call will automatically be on speakerphone, making it easier for your child to explain the situation and have their hands available.  Obviously, if they know it’s an emergency and feel like they should call 911, that’s easily done too.  But, I love the emergency numbers feature so that a grown-up can handle the 911 call and the kid can think about getting safe after hearing direction from a trusted adult.  I actually bought a lanyard so the kids can just wear it around their neck and it’s easily accessible in an emergency.

Although you can use most GSM SIM cards in the phone, their service plans are actually a pretty dang good deal.  I signed up for one that is like $25 bucks for roughly160 minutes.  The plan is good for 3 months, so the kids get to use just about 50 minutes a month, which is plenty for what I intend to use the phone for.  Oh, and any unused minutes can be rolled over, and there’s no contract.  You can read more about their calling plans, here.  The phone also has basic features, like voicemail, texting, keypad lock, flashlight, and FM radio.

I actually think the phone is a pretty good deal, at $89.99…especially with the plan fees being so reasonable.  Plus, having even an extra few ounces of peace of mind is worth a lot.  I had to get the orange one…a favorite color of my boys. They’re trying to think of every excuse in the world to need to take the cell phone with them!




Owner & Author at Or so she says...
Mariel (mahr-eeee-elle) is a mother to six, wife to one. Loves homeschooling, golfing, cupcakes, traveling, cuddling, non-fiction books, gardening, James Taylor, and family time. This is her blog. Enjoy!
38 Comments On This Topic
  1. barbara n
    3 years ago


  2. Jessica T.
    3 years ago

    119.99. What an awesome product!

  3. Heidi K.
    3 years ago

    It is regularly $119.99…what an awesome idea!! Thanks for posting this…my two oldest are 10 and 8 and this would give me so much peace of mind!

  4. Cathie Reynolds
    3 years ago


  5. Andrea Brown
    3 years ago

    What a great starter phone for kids!

  6. Midori
    3 years ago

    What a great idea. My son is too young for a “real” phone but this is a great idea for those times at Disneyland or when he’s out with friends.

  7. Stacy
    3 years ago

    My husband and I were just discussing this yesterday, safety and cell phones for our 7 year old. What a great device

  8. Cindy Randles Hagen
    3 years ago

    definitely a nice idea for kids who don’t need access to the internet

  9. Paula
    3 years ago

    Some great products here! What a great idea!

  10. Trudi
    3 years ago

    This phone is amazing! What a great idea, especially for younger kids that don’t really need a cell phone but can always use the extra precautions and safety measures. I totally want one or two of these.

  11. M.Langston
    3 years ago

    That is awesome! Anything to keep my kids safe in this crazy world..

  12. Britt
    3 years ago

    I would love this for basically all the reasons you have listed. :)

  13. Heidi Broberg
    3 years ago

    I was really sick over that story for a number of days feeling VERY disturbed! So sad. I have a 6,4,and 7 month old so my heart just ached for the innocence. So YES I would love that phone!

  14. Sara
    3 years ago

    I like the simplicity of it – no frills, emergencies only. The peace of mind is priceless!

  15. Calie
    3 years ago

    I want my kids to be safe. This phone is an awesome idea!

  16. Andrea Asher
    3 years ago

    These would be perfect for my Grandchildren.
    What a great idea!!
    Thanks for a chance.

  17. Kara
    3 years ago

    I want one of those for Brandon. That would be fun to track him lol! And I do love the phone idea:)

  18. Aimee
    3 years ago

    Such a great idea Mariel!!!

  19. mel
    3 years ago

    looks easy enough for my 7 yr old to use

  20. Christy
    3 years ago

    Oh my, what a perfect solution! I have kids, so of course this looks awesome, but my 7-year-old also has diabetes. I’ve been worried about how to keep tabs on him as he gets more independent. I knew phones like this existed, so I’m glad you shared this. (Now here’s hoping the universe picks me to win this one!!!)

  21. Maren
    3 years ago

    I don’t want my 11 year old twin boys to have cell phones yet, but I’ve been having to consider otherwise recently. They have an “accelerated” after school program they attend, making them gone from home for over 11 hours. It would be nice to have this phone so there was the OPTION of contacting them.

  22. Emily Peterson Whitby
    3 years ago

    Yikes. Glad for the heads-up about the guy in the white van–I’ll warn my boys. And the Colorado story has really been bothering me, too. I love living close enough to our school that my kids can walk, but it terrifies me that something could happen to them in the short two blocks there. The phone and the GPS are both great ideas–I would feel much safer knowing they could get in touch with me.

  23. Emily
    3 years ago

    Amazing! I would love to have one of these for my kids!

  24. Heather
    3 years ago

    And now the 12 year old who was killed by teenagers in New Jersey. It is all so sickening. I’d love an emergency phone for my boys. They all love orange too!

  25. Cindy
    3 years ago

    This would be great if we all had $1000 to drop on this for our kids.

    • orsoshesays
      3 years ago

      If you happened to buy both products, it would cost you under 350 bucks. Not quite a thousand.

    • Sherri
      3 years ago

      I guess if you had a few kids it would be around that..Thanks for the giveaway Mariel to help us get started!

  26. Michelle Barneck
    3 years ago

    These both sound great. The world is totally getting scarier! Thanks for sharing!

  27. mollie d
    3 years ago

    this is awesome

  28. Angie Kaylor
    3 years ago

    Great giveaway!

  29. Carly
    3 years ago

    I would love one of these for my daughter! We live in such scary times….I don’t think she is ready for a cell phone…but this would be great when they are out doing something with friends! I love the gps tracker as well!!

  30. Living The Scream
    3 years ago

    Love this giveaway! Such a great product. I love that it has big buttons and 5 features.

  31. Angela Lockhart
    3 years ago

    would love the peace of mind this would afford!

  32. elle perez
    3 years ago

    I would love to win this because who doesn’t want to keep their little ones safe?

  33. Missy Hardman
    3 years ago

    This would be a good way to let my sons know if I’m running late. As I often am. :-/ You would probably really like the book Protecting the GIft by Gavin DeBecker. It is such a great resource to alleviate worry and arm parents with the best tools to protect their kids.

  34. Stefani Riker
    3 years ago

    I’ve never heard of these – thanks so much for the information and of course, the giveaway! These would be great phones for my kids – I absolutely love the flashlight and SOS features!

  35. Valerie Anderson
    3 years ago

    I look forward to trying these out. There is so much potential! Thank you for introducing us to these phones.

  36. Valerie Anderson
    3 years ago

    I like the simplicity of the phone. Nowadays with Smart Phones the phone part gets lost and I definitely don’t want my kids using a smart phone right away but still have the sleek look of one can give them pride.

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