Hotline Helps Toddler Keep In Touch With Mom And Dad

Even though the age for first carrying a smartphone seems to be decreasing, there’s a practical lower minimum age at which a kid can reliably use one to make a call. So how do you make sure your tot can reach out and touch mommy or daddy? This toddler-friendly Raspberry Pi hotline is a good start.

With a long trip to Hawaii pending and a toddler staying behind, [kuhnto] wanted a way to make communication as simple as possible. In the days of pervasive landlines, that would have been as simple as a feature phone with a couple of numbers on speed dial buttons. With nothing but cell phones to rely on, [kuhnto] turned to a Raspberry Pi running PBX software and a command line SIP client for making calls over a Google Voice line. The user interface is as simple as can be – a handset and two lighted buttons on a wall-mounted box. All Junior needs to do is pick up the handset and push green to talk to Daddy, blue for Mommy. Something similar might even be useful for elder care.

Kudos to [kuhnto] for thinking through the interface issues to come up with a successful build. We’ve seen other UIs simplified for kids before, such as this button-free jukebox or this special-needs media player.

[via r/DIY]

30 thoughts on “Hotline Helps Toddler Keep In Touch With Mom And Dad

  1. Awesome!!! Man, you can even get artsy creative fun with it for the users favorite or humorous theme as a gift to remind to call. Add a motion sensor and some sort of voice activation would be something way futuristic also for the not liking the phone types. Am I giving my age away on that last “not liking the phone types.”. :-|) Man, price point too isn’t wrong either the more I think about this like you noted for the elderly. Even WiFi if Google Voice and maybe other phone apps if they still allow free WiFi calling priority over the cellular number. Not sure now days with Video calling??? This seems like a cool project to expand on. Yeah, awesome!!!

    1. I don’t think you are giving your age. Many people don’t like talking over the phone, if anything instant messaging and social networks make it easier than ever NOT to talk on the phone.

      1. I think I was thinking too, I like the more personalized video audio route if not written to be more explicit and have the memory stored which is easier if you’re used to writing. Google does have those options last I looked. I know there was an issue when I was using on my smartphone in regards to priority of using WiFi version dialing up. GSM came first and I think at the time Skype was the same. I don’t recall if turning off the carrier was an option or not or if I was lazy at the time dealing with other issues.

    1. More like selfish delusional narcissists… that kid will return the favor in kind someday.
      I have seen what scared kids can grow into, and no gadget can replace the world of kids that have not yet formed a concept of what “later” means.

        1. Well “Nay”, I have been studying humans over many years, and remain endlessly entertained by their antics.
          However, one would need to read at least a few texts in school before making generalizations.

          I am reminded of the orphans vomiting for the simple attention of being held by nurses, and the studies showing increased rates of latent neurological disorders emerging among children raised in high stress environments. If you can’t empathize with the stress of losing both parents (remember the sense of time warning), than there is a high probability you have a narcissistic spectrum disorder as well.

          My eyes have seen things that would rob anyone of their faith in mankind, but I hope someday you can learn compassion or at least get your tubes tied.

    2. Where does it say the toddler is staying behind all by himself? It’s very likely there’s someone to look after it, but that other person isn’t mom or dad, so it can be very reassuring if they are just a button press away. It’s not the same as getting a hug, but it can sure help.

  2. I’m thinking of hundreds of applications for this kind of thing, from ‘help kiosks’ in places where you need to talk to someone and can’t (banks?) or OAP’s in ‘sheltered’ accommodation who can’t remember/work modern phones yet maybe have 2-4 people they wish to talk to occasionally.

    Also, the maker of this is an awesome Dad

  3. I’ve never understood the idea of taking a vacation without your kids. As a father, I love taking family vacations. It’s a great way to share your love for something with your family members. I know too many people who “just need a break from the kids.” Well…perhaps you should have thought of that before having them? Kids are a 24/7 job, and if you didn’t realize that going in, you’ve perhaps made a poor decision. But it’s too late now, deal with it. You’re a parent.

    Besides, on those rare occasions when I’ve had to travel for work, leaving wife and child behind, it rips me up being away from them.

    All that aside…this is a very cool thing he’s done. Like others, I can definitely see many times when this would be handy, even when you’re not leaving your family behind. Just having it available in case something happens to mommy or daddy would be quite useful.

    1. Let’s not be too quick to judge, you dont know their reasons. Maybe they are going to a wedding or some other place where kids are not really welcome? Maybe they haven’t been anywhere alone for several years and want a quick couple getaway t oreconnect and left the kid with their grand parent? Or maybe you’re just a better parent?

    2. Meh, you seem to want to make parenting an exclusive club where only the ones who never take a break qualify. Just the same way as some people consider breast-feeding/bottle-feeding, daycare/stay-at-home etc. the only right way to be a parent. And just like the needs of individual children vary, the needs of parents vary. Trying to force them into a wrong mold is just a recipe for bad feelings.

      In reality such things do not really make a big difference. Sure, some may be statistically somewhat better, but good (and bad) adults get made both ways.

      1. Yeah, this. Loving your family and having a life outside of that family, which isn’t even the case here, isn’t mutuallty exclusive. Besides, it supposedly being a 24/7 job means you’re neglecting your child about a third of the time. Sleeping on the job? Bad parents!

        Children need to learn about being independent too. Helicopter parenting doesn’t equal healthy, functioning adults.

  4. Meh, this is parental martyr mentality. People who have kids shouldn’t aspire to spend 100% of their free time with their kids. Reminds me of the people who think working extra hours at work will score them more points. It’s fun to go on a vacation with adults once in a while.

    1. Oh thank you! And thanks to RW as well! Don’t need to say a thing to any of the rest as the kid’ll set them straight and tell them just what to do and when and just how much money they need to hand over…. today… tomorrow… next week… or else. The parents are trained by the time the child is 7.

      Separation anxiety is nasty for a kid. Parents should design a parentally reasonable schedule to contact the kids.

      Don’t worry about other parents that get this wrong and want to argue… They’re making themselves prisoners and the kids’ll teach ’em!

  5. I made one of these too! Mine is just an old red bell systems touch tone phone connected to a Linksys SPA-2102. I have the SPA-2102 configured with hotline mode and it automatically starts ringing my freeswitch server. Freeswitch is configured to ring both me and my wife at the same time.

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