So they’ve got the games consoles - set top and mobile. They’ve got a tablet, they’ve even got a smartphone. And yet your kids’ insatiable desire for fancy new gadgets shows no signs of letting up.
Or, perhaps you’ve decided enough is enough - you want to try to wean them off screens (big ones, at least) while still giving them something that will satisfy their love of all things tech, a cool new toy they can show off to all their friends.
It might be time to consider a smart watch. Smart watches, and their close relations fitness trackers, are best described as pieces of wearable tech that provide many of the functions we’re used to from smartphones - messaging, social media, games, apps - but in a convenient small format you can wear on your wrist.
From a parent’s perspective, smart watches have a couple of advantages over other common types of gadget. One, in fitness tracker mode, they encourage kids to get active, ‘gamifying’ exercise so they see play as more than being sat on a console all day. Two, they can provide safety and security benefits, with GPS tracking allowing parents to keep tabs on where their children are even if they can’t physically see them.
But what are the best smart watch options around for kids? Here are some favourite products aimed at under 12s.
Garmin VivoFit Jr2
What better way to get kids active than by helping them to imagine they are part of an adventure featuring one of their favourite movie heroes? Garmin produces Disney and Marvel-themed fitness trackers that do just that. Choose your favourite Marvel superhero or Disney princess, and the VivoFit Jr will set your child challenges to complete daily adventures. It is fun, affordable and, as an added incentive to parents, it can also be used to set your kids chores with a reward system included.
VTech KidiZoom DX2
VTech are specialists in kid-friendly technology, and they really hit their straps with the KidiZoom - a smart watch and camera in one! Not only does it allow children to play an impressive range of games, including some great AR-powered monster catching games along the lines of Pokemon Go, they can also take ‘action shots’, selfies and videos from the two in-built cameras.
Kurio Watch 2.0
For slightly older kids who will appreciate the full smartphone-on-your-wrist experience, you can’t go wrong with the Kurio 2.0. The range of features packed into this little gadget are impressive - not just games and fitness tracking apps, but a camera, a media player and, perhaps best of all for kids who are old enough for social media, messaging apps for staying in touch with their friends.
Leapfrog has made a name for itself developing tech that focuses on child development and education, so it is no surprise that the brand’s Leapband activity tracker is a stand-out example in this area. First of all, the central Leapband concept is really cool - the watch contains a virtual pet for every owner, which has to be fed and cared for by completing activities and tasks. These are not just physical, but also link to key skills objectives for each developmental stage.
Tencent Kids Smart Watch
Giving a child greater independence is one of the most worrying things any parent goes through. On the one hand, you don’t want to be that parent that says they can’t go off to the park with their friends. On the other hand, you naturally worry about them staying safe and feel anxious if you don’t know exactly where they are. The Tencent Smart Watch is a great compromise for loosening the reins just a little. With GPS tracking built in, parents can monitor their child’s movements without literally keeping an eye on them at all times, for example by setting boundaries for where a child can and cannot go.
Another worry you might have, of course, is that after you invest in a smart watch for your child, kids being kids, it could end up being smashed to pieces in a couple of weeks. Do yourself a favour and get extra peace of mind by taking out Row.co.uk’s fabulous value gadget insurance, starting at just £1.49 a month.
*The information in this blog is designed to provide helpful information on the subjects discussed. Please seek a professional for expert advice as we can not be held responsible for any damages or negative consequences upon following this information.