Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Have cell phones ruined toy walkie-talkies?


Even though a lot of kids today have cellphones, there's still a place for walkie-talkies.
Even though a lot of kids today have cellphones, there's still a place for walkie-talkies.
IPGGutenbergUKLtd/iStock/Thinkstock

Kids today are not so different from kids of yesterday. They still like to pretend they're spies, space invaders, or tracking big game through the woods. And everybody still knows, apparently, that the preferred communication device for each of those situations is the walkie-talkie. They lend themselves more readily to the lingo that's essential to the game – the whispered "over" when you're finished talking and ready for the next spy to speak or "over and out" when you must end communications so the bad guy/robot/crazed wild animal doesn't hear you.

So, although you may suspect that, yes, cell phones must have ruined walkie-talkies, the short answer here is, no, they haven't. In fact, they haven't even ruined adult walkie-talkies, but that's another subject. A search on Amazon for toy walkie-talkies brings up nearly 500 items. Choices include wrist walkie-talkies that look like watches or bracelets (especially effective for spies, who don't want to be seen waving the device around); headset varieties; and traditional hand-held devices with colors and logos representing popular characters like Hello Kitty, Dora the Explorer, M&Ms and Batman.

Walkie-talkies are also great ways for parents to give kids a little freedom without the on-going monthly expense of a cell phone or concerns about breakage, because walkie-talkies are cheaper and generally more durable than phones. Models are available with a range of just a few yards, great for younger kids who want to play with them in the house, as well as devices that look and operate like adult walkies, with ranges of many miles and price tags of a couple hundred dollars. While that may seem pricey for something that calls itself a toy, these higher-end models are great for families that camp, hike or bike in the great outdoors. Cell phones are still cell-tower dependent, after all, which means the further from civilization you get. the more likely you are to have cell phone failure. Walkie-talkies are a way around these technological black outs.

In short, walkie-talkies are still a great toy for kids and an effective way for parents to keep in touch, while giving kids the freedom to roam the woods, the neighborhood or deep space. Over and out.