I’ve always enjoyed bringing people together, connecting people. I started selling mobile phones on June 1, 1998, a month before my 19th birthday. Back then, none of my 19 year-old friends had a phone yet except for my girlfriend, Angela, which I had given to her. Little did I know that nearly 20 years later I would still be in the mobile phone business, and that girlfriend would become my wife and co-founder at a mobile communication company.
I’ve been responsible for the sale of more than a million mobile phones over the past 20 years, and I’ve had a front row seat as the “brick” evolved to the “flip,” the “clam,” the “slider,” the “candy bar” and then the “slab” of glass. When text messaging launched in 1999, it was revolutionary. It meant we could communicate with one another without talking. College classes, sales meetings, the dinner table: humans were becoming more connected. Then the first game, Snake, came out on the Nokia 6100, and these little communication devices became more than a communication tool. They became a time-waster. College classes, sales meetings, the dinner table: humans were becoming more distracted.
Fast-forward 20 years to the present, and ask yourself which best describes the pocket-sized super-computer you are likely reading this blog post on. Is it a tool that connects you with other people? Or is it a distraction from more important things in life, which actually turns out to be…. other people.
We’re the first generation of parents who are facing this problem for our kids. So Angela and I started this company to be part of the solution. When mobile phones are used to connect humans to other humans they can increase productivity, promote Love and friendship, and they can bring people of the world together. When they are used as a distraction they can create isolation, loneliness, and discontent, particularly among young people (parents must read this next).
When parents choose to introduce bike riding, the original “mobile” technology for kids, they typically start with a tricycle so kids won’t hurt themselves. They set boundaries and monitor the kid to keep them safe. Soon it’s time for a two-wheeler with training wheels, and naturally the boundaries expand but still exist to keep the kids safe. A helmet is introduced along with “rules of the road,” more safety precautions. They know one day their kid will outgrow those training wheels, and one day they will ride their bike further than the end of the driveway and be out of sight.
The years of early preparation hopefully mean their kid will make good decisions, look both ways before crossing the street, keep their helmet on and be safe, even when mom and dad aren’t around to check. This mirrors Yip Yap’s approach. We aspire to enable parents to introduce the benefits of mobile technology to their children without giving their kids the freedom to fail. Over time, kids can be taught appropriate, safe behaviors as their boundaries expand and they leave our sight as they ride further into the world around them.
Yip Yap’s Commitment to the Wellbeing of Kids:
Yip Yap is committed to making the world better for kids and their parents as it relates to how kids engage mobile technology. We believe technology is good when it brings people together in meaningful ways with direct human to human interaction. We don’t believe children should be sold to, persuaded or manipulated. We believe if we create products that promote a healthy relationship between kids and technology, a healthy bottom line will follow. At Yip Yap we promise to keep these beliefs central as we continue product development, formulate advertising strategies and pursue partnerships.