Despite the health concerns about children using cell phones, Firefly Mobile has launched the "Firefly" phone, a cell phone explicitly designed for the pre-teens.

British researchers recently reported finding that cell phone use can produce brain tumors, and warned parents that children under age eight should not use mobile phones. Their report says heavy use can lead to tumors in the brain and ears, and further states that up until now, the risk has largely been understated by most scientists.

The Firefly phone is a voice-only phone designed for the smaller hands of kids aged eight to 12 years old. With just five keys instead of a regular dial pad, parents use a PIN to program up to 22 outgoing numbers into the phone, including speed-dial keys for Mom and Dad. The patented phone lights up like a firefly when in use and intermittently when in standby mode. It is about the size of a small pocket calculator and weighs two ounces.

Firefly Mobile says that it conducted extensive market research with parents and children across the USA, and validated their belief that families need a mobile phone for eight to 12 year olds that performs basic functions, helps parents maintain financial control and connects kids with the most important people in their lives.

"Firefly Mobile is responding to the needs of the marketplace and dedicating our efforts to satisfying both parents' and kids' needs for a functional, controllable and fun mobile phone," said Robin Abrams, CEO, Firefly Mobile.

"Kids feel greater self confidence when they are able to communicate, whenever they need to, with important people in their lives," said Laura Davies, M.D., in a statement released by Firefly. "For a parent running a full life, it is reassuring to know that whenever there is a need, they can make direct contact with their child."

A study in the international journal Epidemiology in October last year found that people who have used cell phones for at least 10 years may have an increased risk of developing a rare brain tumor.