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Why I'm (Really) Excited About Relay, the Screen-Free Phone for Kids

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Do you want to delay getting your kids a smartphone but also need to have lines of communication available? Listen up!

I recently learned about something called the Relay which is a screen-free phone for kids. Let me take that back it’s more like a “go-everywhere-you-and-your-kids-go” walkie-talkie that’s also GPS enabled and works with parents’ smartphones via a companion app. Need to have a way for your kids and you to talk? Check. Need to be able to check on their whereabouts? Check.

[Insert round of applause by parents and caregivers everywhere.]

So, I never win anything but was recently awarded two of them. The cute little blue Relays arrived a couple of weeks ago, and I’m already ecstatic, anticipating the many ways our family can utilize them both now and in the future.

What’s the Relay?

The Relay is “the smarter phone for kids” because it allows families to keep in touch—and stay safe—without having to hand over a traditional smartphone to children. Not only that, the device is designed so simply that a five-year-old can operate it. Did I mention there’s no pricey cell phone contract? It’s $9.99 per month/per Relay. Because of this, over the past six years, Relay has helped save families over $500 million on their cell phone bills.

“Republic Wireless today launched Relay, a nationwide kid cell phone alternative aimed at children ages 6 - 11 for whom parents don’t want to give a smartphone yet, but need an easy and affordable way to stay in touch. As simple to use as a walkie talkie with a one button push-to-talk feature, Relay offers unlimited range and is intended to give parents peace of mind, while offering fun voice features for children.” — May 14, 2018, Republic Wireless press release

This fits-in-your-pocket, screen-free, durable, one button device is built for play—yep, even water resistant—is powered by 4G LTE + WiFi and can hold a charge on even the longest of marathon days. It’s there for when you and your family need it, but without the risk of screen addiction, “stranger access” (thanks to the closed network) or privacy invasion. But wait, there’s more! Check out what they have to say about the new Relay Channels:

For you, communication is key. But Relay also has fun channels that kids will want to play with all day long―like music, silly sounds, and jokes. And if you need to get in touch with your kids while they’re on one of these channels, no problem! Your voice will still come through, no matter what.

Why wait on the smartphone?

There are plenty of reasons for parents and caregivers to hold off on giving kids a smartphone, but often it’s easier said than done. Thankfully, there’s Wait Until 8th which empowers parents to rally together to delay giving children a smartphone until at least 8th grade. By banding together, this decreases the pressure felt by kids and parents alike over the kids having a smartphone. As noted on Wait Until 8th’s website, there is a long list of reasons to the question “why wait,” and parents need to know them:

Childhood is changing for children. Playing outdoors, spending time with friends, reading books and hanging out with family is happening a lot less to make room for hours of snap chatting, instagramming, and catching up on YouTube. With children spending anywhere between 3 to 7 hours daily in front of a screen, many childhood essentials are pushed aside for online amusement.

Check out the Wait Until 8th website for all the reasons to wait for the smartphone, FAQs, resources, their blog, and more. As they say, “childhood is too short to waste on a smartphone. Take the pledge today!”

Don’t worry; the pledge is for smartphones only. If you want your child to have a Relay or even a basic phone that just calls and texts, you still can sign the pledge.

Great ways to use the Relay

There are many ways the Relay comes in handy from families and outdoor enthusiasts to senior citizens and teams who are always on the go.


Our Relay devices came with the lanyard and clip (accessories sold separately), which seem like they’ll come in handy. While our kiddos are still young enough that we don’t let them venture out and about on their own yet, I do look forward to clipping the Relay to each of their backpacks when heading into places with large crowds (festivals, amusement parks, farmers markets, etc.). That way, if we somehow get separated (EEK!), my husband and I can not only track their location with the GPS, but we can also “talk” to them and say, “stay put, mom/dad is coming to where you are.”

Features still to come Spring 2019

As mentioned above, Relay continues to add new features, channels, etc. which is awesome! Here’s a look at the top-requested features coming Spring 2019:

  • Get SOS emergency alerts

  • Listen to message history

  • One-on-one chats made easy

  • App-Only Accounts (perfect for loved ones—grandparents, co-parents, etc.—to stay connected with their families)

  • Geofencing

“Trepid Tech Mom” reminders

The Relay is fantastic in many ways, yes, but it’s also technology that your family is using so you have to stay in the know—with Relay or any all other devices your family uses. Relay offers a few Internet safety tips:

Relay isn’t a phone—it doesn’t have a screen or a phone number. But it is an internet-connected device. To grow up safe and savvy in the digital age, it’s important that kids learn how to protect their privacy and self-regulate their internet time.

There are some newer features and channels that, for now, I don’t see our family using, but perhaps they will be a good fit “someday.” That’s why I love this about Relay:

Not sure you want your child using some of Relay’s channels? No problem—you can control channels, location tracking and more from the Relay companion app. It’s customizable for every family to keep your child safe.

Be safe and thoughtful out there digital parents and always take an active role in whatever technology your family uses.

Get your Relay today!

I am loving Relay, the screen-free smartphone. Get yours through my referral link and a month of service is FREE!

This blog includes referral links. If you click on my links, I may receive compensation at no extra cost to you. Even when receiving incentives or payment, the opinions on this website are solely those of Trepid Tech Mom. Please read my disclosure policy for further details.

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