This company is building a safe tech playground for kids

Gabb Phone Plus
(Image credit: Gabb Wireless)

In a time when parental controls are becoming increasingly essential for kids to navigate the vast, sometimes unfiltered content online, Gabb, a kid-safe tech company, recently launched a premium music subscription, Gabb Music +, giving kids a safe place to explore music. But beyond music streaming, Gabb is positioning itself as a safe space for kids to gradually transition into the world of technology and explore content in today's digital age.

How Gabb is building a safe tech ecosystem for kids

Gabb Phone Z2

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

Gabb, founded in 2018, has been making internet-free phones for kids ages 5 and 15. The company says it has taken a leadership role in providing research and education and developing solutions that empower parents with the tools to keep their children safe. It creates devices and apps that consider the age factor and the 'coolness' aspect of the gadgets it creates.

"While still protecting (kids) from gaming addictions, dangers of predators, bullies, exposure to explicit language or inappropriate language and images," Brandon Jeppson, Gabb's director of marketing, told me in an email.

Regarding smartphones, the brand's latest Gabb phone and Gabb Phone 3 Pro have no internet connectivity, but they do provide the essential apps needed for each stage of development from grade school through high school. For instance, Gabb's teen-friendly phone is compatible with third-party apps like Kahoot, Duolingo, Gabb Maps, etc., which parents can enable if they feel their teens are ready.

These phones also come equipped with kid-safe messaging through Gabb Messenger, which constantly monitors texts and notifies parents if their kids are exposed to inappropriate content, opening up necessary conversations in families. Parents can also request that the company add certain apps that they feel are necessary in school or in public settings.

"Unlike other tech solutions, Gabb has kids as our first thought, not as an afterthought," Jeppson added.

Gabb has kids as our first thought, not as an afterthought.

After delving into music, Gabb highlights how parents wanted a platform that stages safe music options with no explicit content that their kids may accidentally encounter, so the company created a Gabb Music + subscription.

"Gabb Music doesn't just bleep out lyrics; instead, every explicit song and innuendo has been filtered out entirely using industry-leading tools and proprietary technology," said Gabb CEO Nate Randle.

The result is a curated music library that the whole family can listen to. Kids can search for songs and artists, create their own playlists, and download them on the go, much like on other music streaming apps like Spotify or YouTube Music.

Gabb's watches offer benefits similar to those of its phones. The latest Gabb Watch 3 allows calling and texting pre-approved contacts, ensuring kids stay connected with their families. These wearables also have an inbuilt GPS tracking system and an SOS button that provides an added layer of security when kids are away from home.

The need for safe havens

Gabb Watch 3

(Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

If you handed a toddler a smartphone today, you’d be surprised how they’d probably unlock your phone and start launching apps that interest them—which could lead them into a path of screen addictions when they’re supposed to be learning life skills.

Parents are constantly debating the right age to give their children a phone due to the increased psychological risks. A global study of nearly 28,000 young adults showed a strong correlation between the age children receive their first smartphone and their mental health. It states, "the later the age at which these young adults first got a phone or tablet that they could carry with them in childhood, the better their mental well-being."

In today's vastly connected world, with access to smartphones and the internet, teens are bound to stumble upon inappropriate content and be subject to bullying, which, in turn, impacts their self-worth and ability to relate to others in a positive way. While most social media apps have age restrictions, bypassing those walls and getting through is equally easy.

Another study highlights how 8 to 10-year-olds spend almost eight hours a day with various media, and older children and teenagers spend around 11 hours with media, leaving them susceptible to unwanted content or even social media predators.

That's where companies like Gabb come in, providing essential tools for parental control and age-appropriate functionality. Gabb says it tries to create an environment for kids to safely switch to other devices when they are adults while striving to remain relevant in today's AI-powered world. 

That said, Gabb isn't the only company making kids-safe tech. Recently, Google announced the new Fitbit Ace LTE, a kids-only smartwatch that aims to promote a more healthy and active lifestyle. The wearable is not all about step-tracking— it also comes with "games" and other ways to get kids into the habit of staying active. The Ace LTE also offers calling, messaging, and location sharing.

"We believe the new appearance of other competitors is a validation of the growing interest in our mission to empower parents and kids to connect safely in a digital world," Jeppson added.

Despite other entrants into the market, Gabb feels that it has had a substantial head start on the competition and has established a loyal, growing customer base. 

"We also continue to see a strong response from parents to Tech in Steps (aligning products with developmental stages) and the kid-first approach to helping kids and teens safely connect to family and friends."

Nandika Ravi
News Editor

Nandika Ravi is an Editor for Android Central. Based in Toronto, after rocking the news scene as a Multimedia Reporter and Editor at Rogers Sports and Media, she now brings her expertise into the Tech ecosystem. When not breaking tech news, you can catch her sipping coffee at cosy cafes, exploring new trails with her boxer dog or leveling up in the gaming universe.

  • taynjack
    My kids have Gabb watches and my teen just got a Gabb phone. I love them! They make it easy to say no to non-age appropriate apps because they just don't exist on a Gabb phone! Now if only there was a laptop with similar features.