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Friendship Lamps Keep Kids Connected: No Screens Required

Touch one lamp, and the other lights up — whether they're in different rooms of the same house, or on opposite sides of the globe.

Friendship lamps are a space-age solution to an ancient human dilemma: How can we feel connected to others even when we’re apart? Friendship lamps are like little lighthouses, glowing across distances large and small to help kids stay connected to their friends and family members.

So how do friendship lamps work? Two lamps, placed in different locations, communicate via wifi so that when one lamp is touched, the other lights up. Many long-distance friendship lamps can be interconnected, allowing entire friend groups to communicate via colored light without staying up all night glued to a phone. The lamps also give kids an easy way to reach out to grandparents and other family members who live far away or who’ve been kept away by the pandemic.

While a friendly glow can’t compete with an in-person visit, friendship lamps provide a quick way to communicate more regularly, without coordinating schedules or handling technical difficulties. (One customer wrote in a review that she loves the way the lamp allows her to tell her friend, who’s undergoing chemotherapy, that she’s thinking of her in a way that doesn’t make the friend feel obligated to respond when she’s feeling too tired or sick. )

But friendship lamps can also be used within the same house. For kids who have a hard time staying in bed at night, being able to communicate through the lamp can help reassure them that their parent is right in the other room. It can also be used as alternative to yelling up the stairs when dinner’s ready or it’s time to leave for school. However a friendship lamp is used, it lets one human tell another that they’re thinking of them, no logistics or screen time required. (Note: Prices below reflect the cost of two lamps.)

This set is one of the most affordable on the market, and seemingly one of the most legit. It comes with detailed set-up instructions and rave reviews, has over 200 color options and multiple settings for the length of time between lighting up and fading, plus a sleep setting so that it won't wake anyone up. It even comes with a bridge so that two lamps can communicate without wifi (so long as they're in the same room).

This option combines the function of a friendship lamp with a frame, so that a colored panel around the picture lights up when the corresponding frame is touched.

This sleeker model works much the same way. Two lamps are connected via wifi, and when one lamp is touched, the other lights up.

The more neutral, decorative design of this wood framed lamp allows it to blend in as decor. It can connect with up to 10 lamps and includes hundreds of color settings. Reviewers say the shop owner is responsive and helpful with set-up questions.

This lamp duo features a frame like structure with a light up heart that glows each time the corresponding lamp is touched.

This kid friendly design fits right into a childhood bedroom.

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