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    FAQ

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Smartphones are an inevitability, but how we use them is not predetermined. Phones keep us on track, help us connect with others and enable us to learn about the world around us, but they’re also incredibly addictive. We can teach our children to unlock the good in smartphones without getting sucked into the bad by building an incredibly thoughtful experience and changing the business model.

    We believe that healthy technology consumption, much like food consumption, is best taught early. Pinwheel is the ideal first smartphone for elementary age kids because it fosters curiosity while building good phone habits from the start and providing a sense of relief for caregivers in the process.

    Pinwheel is the first smartphone & operating system purpose-built to foster healthy life-long tech habits in kids.

    Pinwheel was developed by therapists, technologists, and parents on a mission to promote social and emotional health in a world saturated by technology that tends to do the opposite.

    Other options simply “dumb down” adult smartphones to make them "safe" (but not beneficial) for kids.

    No ads or in-app purchases exist in Pinwheel. No social media or violent video games, that stuff has no place for kids so it's not on Pinwheel. 

    Boundless opportunity for positive engagement and learning

    Simple for parents to set up, monitor, use and adapt over time

    Pinwheel is intended as an introductory mobile experience for elementary school-aged Kids (~6/7yo readers through 5th grade, and can extend into early middle school).  Our research has found that children in this age range thrive with:

    Attention and positive reinforcement

    Entertainment and delight

    Freedom and independence (trust!)

    Pinwheel delivers these with therapist-endorsed and age-appropriate software and hardware designed specifically for children in this age range. 

    Good tech is technology that is healthy, safe and fun for kids. It offers far more positive impact than negative consequence.

    Pinwheel is taking pre-orders now for the Pinwheel Pixel, which will ship to the first customers on July 1st. Other cohorts will follow, so if you'd like to be the first, please sign up soon. Early customers will be able to take advantage of a 20% discount from the retail price! Click here to reserve your early bird discount!

    Pinwheel includes a kids phone, the Pinwheel mobile operating system, and a curated, kid-focused software bundle for $199 (limited time offer, regularly $249) and $9/month.  Click here to reserve your early-bird discount!

    For young kids using Pinwheel around the house this is all you need (use on WiFi).

    Adding a cell plan is sold separately and can be done through your own family plan on any Major US Carrier.

    Sometimes your family plan is overkill for a kid, however, so we've sourced a great deal for you to relieve your research. Consider the pre-paid $15/month T-mobile plan. Click here for that deal. (There's no commission for us on that link, we asked... they said no... it's just a good deal). 

    This brings your total monthly cost to $9+$15=$24/month.

    Our paid-software business model is a huge benefit to parents and families as we don't work with advertisers, in-app purchase models or gather and sell personal data.

    You can use Pinwheel around the house on WiFi and/or you can optionally add it to your family's wireless plan at any major carrier (it's an unlocked 4G LTE handset). We recommend the T-Mobile $15 pre-paid plan for 2GB and unlimited talk/text. It should be a great plan you. Click here to order that plan!

    Mission-driven therapists, technologists and parents. Find out more about our team here.

    Drop us a line here. We're a customer-centric company and we will delight you with our service.

    We believe in a simple  business model. You pay us, we provide you services. Our paid-software business model is a huge benefit to parents and families as we don't work with advertisers, in-app purchase models or gather and sell personal data. A broken business model in technology is a huge reason for the addictive nature of current options today, so this business model change is very important to us.

    Also note that premium apps that comply with our "paid software only" business model will also be made available in our ecosystem as "premium offerings" at additional cost (A good example is Yousician, which is great software for learning instruments and costs $10/month independently and of course couldn't be included without paying them for their development efforts at your option). 

    Product Questions

    Pinwheel is built to change modes throughout the day, to match with a child’s natural daily rhythm. Modes can be used for all kinds of things, like an optimized morning routine or setting aside time for your kid’s favorite extracurricular activity.

    The modes were designed with feedback from therapists, parents, and children to let kids be kids.

    A mode consists of three key settings: 1) What software applications are available to be accessed 2) What routine the child should complete (a checklist with an optional point award) and 3) What contacts can be called/walkie-talkied/texted 

    An operating system is the platform that powers your phone. Most adult phones use either iOS by Apple or Android by Google as their operating system. Neither of these was designed for kids.

    Pinwheel is a fork of the pure open-source Android project, below the level where all the Google stuff was added. That means Pinwheel is compatible out-of-the-box with most software out there already developed for Android. Our curation team is hand-selecting only the best software partners that agree with our philosophy to add their existing software to our ecosystem.

    No. Pinwheel includes connected discovery software so that your child can discover and satiate their endless curiosity (think encyclopedia). However, it does not include a traditional internet browser. There's plenty of time for that, later.

    No. Our certified child therapist advisors have reiterated the dangers of social media and the many issues arising from its use amongst our youth. Our tools make it easy for kids to communicate with their parent-approved network of contacts in authentic ways. 

    A smartphone is a special piece of technology. It's like our appendage. It's a piece of us. As such, it should be carefully considered. Pinwheel doesn't have these things at all on the platform. They just aren't available.

    It's not that gaming and shows are all terrible (we like Star Wars as much as anyone!), it's that their overuse can keep us from achieving our goals and from connecting authentically with others. Let's teach our kids to use their smartphone as a tool, not as a numbing device. Let them access appropriate video content or fun gaming with friends or family at your discretion on other platforms, but let's keep their smartphone habits clean.

    We recommend beating the original Legend of Zelda on a retro gaming device together with your kids across several Saturday nights... trust us, it's a fun bonding experience :) 

    Your child cannot break into the open internet just because you forgot some silly setting, or an app updated and your control software didn’t, or they figured out your password to the device.

    If they got your password to the device, the most they could do is cancel their jobs and allow more healthy apps! No Worries :)