Disney's new mobile phone service, which allows parents to restrict usage and track their children by satellite technology, comes as little surprise because it represents the confluence of some major trends in society.
The wireless market for children between 8 and 12 could double in the next four years, according to recent research by the Yankee Group. And Disney is one of many struggling toy makers that have turned increasingly to phones and other electronic gadgetry in search of the next hit product.
The most compelling trend, however, is parental insecurity about the physical safety of children and their use of technology--and Disney, as one of the most trusted family brands in history, would seem perfect for the task at hand. Yet many bloggers, in their skeptical wisdom, have other thoughts on the subject.
Blog community response:
"It strikes me as really creepy now, but I'll probably have a different opinion when my own kids start asking for cell phones."
"While these services may sound appealing, Marketing Blurb remains suspicious this is merely a Trojan horse to whisper into childrens' ears about Disney products. Expect Mickey to call Junior with a pitch to nag parents about Disney products. Don't call us, Mickey--we'll call you."
"By avoiding a Disney cell phone service, you will avoid having to compete with Disney for parenting rights for your child. Indeed, one of the fundamental ideas of freedom is not only the freedom to do something, it is the freedom to be free from something."
"Surveillance through Bambi-means!"