Relay kids phone FAQ's: Here's what you need to know

Andrea B.
November 12, 2018

Thinking about a way to keep in touch with your child as they develop their independence and responsibility? Us, too – that’s why we created Relay. This screen-free smartphone for kids is unlike anything else out there today, and it has an ever-growing set of fun and useful features. Here are some common questions about Relay and their answers.

What is the range? Can I use it from a different city/state?

Relay has the range of a cell phone—so you can make calls as far as across the country. Relay uses 4G LTE and WiFi for even more reliable coverage. You can connect your Relays to WiFi through the app on your smartphone. After that, they’ll automatically connect when in range, switching from 4G LTE to WiFi as needed.

Is Relay available outside of the U.S.?

Relay is only available in the U.S. (excluding Alaska and Hawaii). We hope to expand internationally in the future. Hang on, Canada—we’ll be there soon!

Do I need to add a line to my cell phone plan for Relay? Is there a monthly fee?

Relay comes with its own service—no need to add a line to your cell plan. All you need to do is purchase and activate. Relay has a monthly fee of $9.99/month, independent from your normal cell phone service bill.

How is this different from a “dumb phone?”

No calls from strangers, just pre-approved contacts. No texting, cameras, or internet access, just kid-friendly content. And unlike flip phones and brick phones, Relay uses a modern antenna and 4G LTE + WiFi. That means when you talk, you hear each other more clearly and get more reliable service. And I guess we should mention that Relay is much more affordable than most phones and phone plans.

Does this have real-time GPS tracking?

Relay has GPS tracking that updates every time a parent requests the location of each device. It does not constantly update, but it shows an accurate location/address when you ask for it—and it integrates with your phone’s map app. We are working on developing a geofencing feature that will allow parents to set up perimeters, and we’ll be sure to announce once it’s available.

How many devices do I need? Is there an app for parents?

You’ll need one Relay per kid. Parents and older siblings with smartphones can use the free Relay app for iOS and Android to chat. Of course, if you want a Relay of your own, that’s great!

How does Relay know who to contact? How does it switch between contacts?

Your child can reach any combination of pre-approved contacts through Relay. Parents set up individual and group chat channels in the app. Kids just press the channel button on the side of their device to cycle through to the chat group they want to contact. Relay announces what channel it’s using and which it’s switching to, so there’s no confusion. So if your child wanted to contact mom, they’d press the channel button until Relay announces “Switching to Chrissy and Mom” or whatever you named that channel. Then they press the talk button to get ahold of mom. For more information, check out this article from our support team.

Does the app have to be open on my phone in order for my kid to talk to me?

In order for voice messages to come through to your phone, the Relay app must be open. You also have the option of allowing messages to come through up to 60 seconds after the app is closed. After that, app users will automatically receive push notifications if someone is trying to contact them. Kids can also send their parents special channel alerts when they need to talk. See how here. App users can just tap the channel alert notification and immediately respond. You can even set up notifications from the Relay app to make noise and alert you from your bag or pocket through your phone settings.

How do I keep my kid from losing their Relay? Is it a wearable?

We have a wearable accessory called the Loop Case to keep kids from losing their device. It includes a case, carabiner, and lanyard. Wear it, clip it to a belt loop or backpack—the possibilities are endless. It’s more versatile than a watch band, and way more stylish.

Can I leave a message for my child and vice/versa?

This feature is planned for a future Relay update, but is not currently available. You can sign up to receive Relay updates and be the first to know when this feature is released. Check out the bottom of the page for that.

Can my kid talk to their friends with Relay? What if their friends have smartphones?

Yes, kids can talk to friends on other Relay accounts as long as the contact is approved by the app owner (that’s you!) Kids can talk to friends, cousins, and any other approved contact with a Relay or Relay app. If your child’s friends have smartphones but do not have a Relay account, you would need to give your child’s friends your login credentials to access the app. We do not recommend this as the app contains parental controls. In the future, we plan to have app-only accounts to solve this.

Can you call 911 on Relay?

Relay does not use phone service/lines, so it can’t make calls to emergency services. Relay developers are currently working on a solution for emergency contact. The current solution is to have your child contact someone with the Relay app on their phone, and have them call 911.

Have questions we didn’t address here?

Ask them in the comments and we’ll get back to you as quickly as we can! For more information on Relay’s channels, click the button below.


Notable Replies

  1. I was so excited to see that the relays are only $50 now but then I noticed under the relay ad it says the monthly fee is $9.99 a month. But this article from today still says $6.99 a month? I hope you didn’t increase the monthly fee when you decreased the cost of the relays. I will be super disappointed :frowning:

  2. The cost of acquisition has gone down, the monthly fee is going up to $9.99 per Relay per month. Those of us already customers have received an account credit reflecting the new device pricing. We’re also grandfathered at $6.99 per Relay per month for existing devices for one year.

  3. I feel the increase is a fair thing as usage and features start to use more data it was inevitable that the price would raise above the 6.99 per month price. In this case there is an added bonus that they have lowered the entry cost for those purchasing new Relay devices.

  4. Hi rolandh I got the notice an d checked my account I did not see where the price increase was stated?

  5. You should have received an email to your account email that details everything.

  6. Hi @meghanaitken! Thanks for asking that question! This post was published while Relay’s monthly price was still $6.99/month. This has been updated in the post itself, which will stay up to date and accurate with current information. That change didn’t get applied here in the Neighborhood.

    I’m sorry for any confusion!

    Edit: The accurate price has been updated in this Neighborhood post

  7. Sorry about being so late to answer. But yes i got the email to day Thanks Got all the info.

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