Thursday, June 10, 2010

How Parents Can Stay Connected With Kids Who Don't Have Cell Phones - Motorola Talkabout MC 220R 2-Way Radio - PRODUCT REVIEW

by Janis Brett Elspas

I always enjoy doing reviews on family-friendly products that enhance life for parents, kids, and families as a whole.  This just completed test and tell of Motorola Talkabout MC220R two-way radios was no exception.  

My initial intention with this particular gadget unveiled by Motorola at the January 2010 Consumer Electronics Show CES was to experiment to see if the radio set would make a good substitute for cell phones since none of our kids has one. Prior to this whenever they needed to call home, they'd just use a landline or borrow a friend's cell phone. 

As it turns out, the two sets of two Talkabout two-way radios that Motorola sent us which are pictured at left, have been even more fun and practical than my four kids (triplets who are almost 13 & big brother one year older) and I could have ever imagined. The first thing I noticed out of the package was how the 6.46" H x 2.28" W x 1.35" D radio was perfectly sized for the hand for both parents and children to hold. The unit fits easily in a jacket or jeans pocket as well.

Set-up was a breeze -- our 14 year-old had both sets of radios up and running in less than 15 minutes.  Also included in the package were detailed use directions in English that were actually easy to understand, plus 2 belt clips, a dual charger, one charging adapter, and two (3 x AA) NiMH rechargeable battery packs.  All four of the radios -- 2 radios came in each package -- worked together as a foursome, my kids quickly discovered, so they were able to keep in touch with each other while each was at a different friend's house.  That didn't help me much, though, LOL.  With four radios out of the house, I was left with no way to reach any of them so I had to revert to my old-fashioned method of keeping tabs on them by calling the home and mobile phones of the kids they were with.

Nevertheless, these Talkabouts did give me peace of mind.  That's because after using them just a few times, they all reported back that they were very good about keeping in touch with one another.  This impressed me that while they were biking around our hilly residential neighborhood which is adjacent to an urban area, they were able to stay connected to each other even when they were spread out over 2 or 3 square miles.  A interesting sidenote: I was quite surprised at how well the kids got along with each other when talking on these radios out of sight of each other, since like most siblings they don't always get along when they're all in the same room.

Here one of my triplet girls is saying, "Copy that," to her brother who was about 1-1/2 miles away at  the time.  Based on the first few times we've used them, this product appears to live up to just about everything that was in the pitch I received from Colleen, Motorola's PR representative for this product line. Among its proven benefits, our family confirmed -- most notably -- that this is
  • A must-have product for active moms and her children that is practical for just about every adventure
  • Very easy to use -- for kids and technologically-challenged moms alike
  • Sturdy enough for youngsters who tend to break things (like mine)
As a Certified Online Mom I will mention that like most other electronic devices, this has the potential to be most helpful when used properly but not if it's abused.  I found this out accidentally when the kids started switching through the wide choice of channels on their radios just for the fun of it, listening in on some adult conversations on other people's radios that were definitely not G-rated.  I happened to overhear them playing around and I called an impromptu family meeting so we could go over the rules: if they used the radios responsibly they could hang on to them, otherwise I would take them away.  Yes, technology can be a boom or bane to our children's existence.  But, if parents teach their kids about responsible use, whole families can benefit from gadgets such as this Motorola's Talkabout line.

My kids and I  look forward to testing our two sets of radios some more in the field as we travel both by air (to stay in touch in busy airports) and by car (especially when we are visiting museums & National Parks) this summer while on vacation. 

The Motorola Talkabout MC220R two-way radios set carry an MSRP of $44.99 per pair and are available at stores such as Target.  Dealers and consumers can also call 800-638-5119 for product availability or visit for additional consumer information on various Motorola two-way radios.

FTC Disclosure: MommyBlogExpert received two sets of the Motorola Talkabout MC220R for review.  MommyBlogExpert did not receive any payment or other compensation associated with this post.  See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.     

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