Tip: “emergency” buttons on smart phones

You may or may not have taught your youngsters how (and why) to dial 9-1-1 (and to not practice it – sorry, local PD). It’s a very good idea to do so. However it’s one thing to teach 2-4-yr-olds how to operate a push-button phone (assuming they know which buttons are which). It’s quite another to get them to navigate multiple touch screens on the newest smartphones to even get to the dialer window. A lot of adults I know can’t manage this.

The Lock Screen (and eventually, an ambulance) to the rescue.

My phone, a T-Mobile G-1 (not an endorsement of their product or service), has a lock screen – a privacy/security feature whereby you have to input a pattern or code to be able to access the phone. (I’m told the iPhone has this as well.) In case of emergency – when you can’t, in a panic, remember the pattern, or you’re incapacitated and some samaritan is trying to call help on your phone – there is a single button to get to the dialer, where it only connects to emergency numbers.

We were recently reinforcing to our 3-yr-old son the hows and whys of calling for help. My wife got one of those new phones that has a full QWERTY keyboard instead of a dedicated number pad. We’re still working on 6 vs. 9, so throwing a bunch of letter keys on top of everything didn’t clear up any confusion. We turned to my phone, and realized that, “press the green button with the phone picture,” doesn’t always open to the dial pad – sometimes contacts, sometimes call log.

I had turned my lock screen off, because I felt it too much of a bother to use each time I wanted to access the phone. When I first enabled it, allowing my son to entertain himself with the new “game” of drawing lines between the dots on the screen, I was sure to instruct him to never press “the white button with the red cross” (at least not any more) – that it was for calling for help, if someone was hurt, or there was a fire. I’ve since turned the lock back on, for this very reason. It’s one button that my son can access and enables him to dial 9-1-1 in an emergency.

Published in: on November 20, 2009 at 4:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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