Smartwatch lovers know how convenient and useful they are. Kids can benefit from wearing a smartwatch in many ways.
The key is fitting the watch to the needs and maturity level of the child.
Giving your child a smartphone is not always a great idea but a smartwatch is a little different.
Smartwatches have the ability today to help a parent communicate with their child, track them, and locate them in case of an emergency.
Basically, when you put on a smartwatch you are strapping a small computer onto your child’s wrist.
Parents want to keep their children safe.
They want to help them explore the world while testing their limits, smartwatches can do that, especially if the watch has specific features.
A big plus is that smartwatches are securely attached to the child’s wrist and are less likely to get lost, misplaced, or stolen as opposed to a smartphone.
See more at smartgeekwrist.com
Pros of Smartwatch
Many smartwatches for children have built-in GPS to help track a smaller child. This is a big advantage especially in younger children or children with special needs.
This is often a must-have feature. Often these need a SIM card to connect the child’s watch to the parent’s smartphone.
The GPS feature can be helpful for an older child to navigate to a new place he or she may be traveling to. Some smartwatches have two-way phone calls that will enable a parent to contact a child or a child to call his parent. The watch will also need a SIM card.
Geofencing and Location Alert Function
Some watches have a geofencing and location alert function so that if your child goes beyond a preprogrammed distance limit the parent will receive a notification.
This is very helpful with small children or children with special needs who either like to wander or have no fear of being away from the parent, caregiver, or teacher.
Older children who understand the concepts of fitness tracking can monitor their steps or daily activities. A great feature for older children is to encourage activity.
Children who sit at a desk a lot can use a sedentary reminder which helps kids move during the day and stretch.
Calendar features can be set to remind children of appointments, or programmed to remind a child to brush his teeth or take out the dog.
Parents and teachers may not want a child who goes to school to be using his watch to play games instead of concentrating on work. Most teachers do not let kids use their smartphones during class and the same is true about smartwatches as this can be distracting.
A desirable feature to look for is an SOS button which can send out notifications and or calls to preprogrammed select emergency numbers.
Children’s smartwatches need to be durable. The band needs to be small enough to fit around a child’s wrist and the watch face strong enough and scratch resistant to handle a child’s rougher and tumble lifestyle.
Smartwatches for children should be water-resistant and have impact absorbing casing. The charging mechanism needs to be easy and not too fragile so that an older child can learn to take responsibility for charging his or her watch.
Many times parents report that they need to charge the smartwatch at night so try to find a watch with the longest battery possible. Having to charge the battery often can lead to both the child and or parent’s frustration.
Older children can learn to plug in their watches by themselves. Read the first time use instructions, as many watches require a specific time to charge the battery to fully charge the watch.
Especially the first time one uses it. It may be best to precharge the watch before giving it to the child. Kids smartwatches follow most of the regulations that adult smartwatches have with a smaller wristband.
Cons of Smartwatch
The downside of smartwatches is that any type of wireless communication gadget has the potential of being hacked. It is OK for a parent to track his or her child but not someone else.
Once a smartwatch adds a GPS or phone calling ability it opens up this dilemma. On the one hand, parents want to know their kids are safe, but they don’t want their child’s smartwatch or their own smartwatch to be hacked.
According to the Norwegian Consumer Council, some children’s smartwatches can be vulnerable to hackers. Today’s smartwatch companies have had time to address this concern.
Three out of four smartwatches on the market do not have sufficient security safeguards. Germany for instance has banned children’s smartwatches.
Some Smartwatches emit EMF radiation which is considered harmful according to Dr. Joseph Mercola. “The radiation really comes from the 3G connection on a cell phone. If you buy a watch with a cellular chip in it then you’ve got a cellphone attached to your wrist.”
Although there are different viewpoints on the safety of smartphones and radiation. While the exact risk from wireless technology in terms of EMF radiation is debatable, wearable technology limits are conservative, even more so when it comes to children.
Smartwatches do emit EMF radiation but most studies do not feel it is significantly high enough to cause problems. Some ways to help protect against the risk is to:
- Not sleep with your smartwatch on. Most symptoms like nausea, headaches, or insomnia associated with smartwatch use can be alleviated by disconnecting at bedtime.
- Disconnect any technological device, smartphone, laptop, or smartwatch 2-3 hours before bedtime. Engage in quiet activities like reading to give your brain a rest.
- Take a technology break once a week or a few hours a day like turning cell phones off and putting smartwatches away during mealtimes so families can actually interact and are less distracted.
Petr is a serial tech entrepreneur and the CEO of Apro Software, a machine learning company. Whenever he’s not blogging about technology for itechgyan.com or softwarebattle.com, Petr enjoys playing sports and going to the movies. He’s also deeply interested in mediation, Buddhism and biohacking.