Wearable technology and smart watches have now evolved to focus on children. With Christmas approaching, we have dived into the seven best kids smart watches, phone watches and general wearable technology. Lets dive in.
More and more adults are rushing to use wearables, as the technology for smart watches, fitness bands, activity trackers and other wearable tech continues to improve. For the most part, wearable technology is designed as a “grown-ups toy.” Many of the features and functions of smart watches are too complex for young minds to comprehend.
The market for adult wearable technology is largely focussed on three areas. The first is technology that can help us workout better and/or ‘be more active’ (hardware like fitness bands combined with software applications for our phones), technology that can help us understand our sleep better and thus sleep better and finally, technology which plays with our smartphone to make us aware of new messages, emails and calls faster. This is all super useful for us grown-ups, but much less so for children. Therefore the cross-over appeal for this new breed of smart tech seemed to be quite low.
However, LG and Verizon have recently teamed up to bring two, new, kid-friendly wearables to the market. GPS locators in the form of wristbands, to keep track of kids without constantly keeping an eye on them, have been around for some time now. But, LG and Verizon have taken these GPS monitors a step further by adding in smart technology. So that’s right folks – the wearables tech has now officially hit the kids market, but it has had to be evolved in order to add children specific value. We knew it would get there!
In truth, smart technology has been a kids game for years now. Its never fails to amaze me how quickly children are able to pick up and use devices like iPhones and iPads. Such technology, because they’re growing up with it, comes much more naturally to our children then it does to our parents. Yet the wearables for children space is combining features that make it easier to keep tracks on kids, contact them and generally look after them with features which make the devices fun and interesting for the child. So these are much more precise bits of kit than, for example, handing a kid a smartphone.
Introducing the best kids smart watches for 2016
The GizmoPal and the GizmoGadget are the “brainchildren” of the collaboration between the two leading tech companies. The GizmoPal, which has been on the market for almost a year, has been upgraded, re-styled, and generally massively refreshed – giving it an entirely new look and feel. The GizmoGadget is really a kids phone watch, but it doe shave extra smart watch tools. Both devices are limited in the amount of functions available, very easy to use, and designed especially for kids. We have broken down and reviewed kid friendly wearables allowing users the option to explore what went into the making of these two products.
1. GizmoPal Children’s Phone watch lets you call you call your kids and track their whereabouts via a companion app
The GizmoPal is the kid-version of a smart watch. With only two functions, GPS monitoring and two-way calling for up to 4 preregistered numbers, the GizmoPal is perfect for keeping in contact with one’s child at all times through a simple to use kids phone watch, which is much harder to lose than a traditional phone. There is no screen on the face of the wristband, only a single button for making calls. However, unlike a smart phone, the GizmoPal can only make calls to two preregistered numbers, and receive calls from 4. By pressing the button twice, the GizmoPal goes into calling mode, and when receiving calls, LED lights around the phone notify the wearer.
The GizmoPal can be paired with up to two caregivers through the smartphone app, allowing for real-time, constant GPS monitoring. Geo-fencing technology allows caregivers to designate boundaries to prevent children from straying too far away. When the pre-set boundaries are breached, users get an alert on their smart phone. The GizmoPal comes in pink and light blue, and with stickers, allowing children to decorate the GizmoPal to their likings. Priced at $80, and requiring a $5 monthly access fee via an existing Verizon plan, the GizmoPal is perfect for young children who like to run around and get “lost.”
2. GizmoGadget – a more advanced child friendly smart watch, suited to the older kids
The GizmoGadget is more like a smart watch than the GizmoPal, but is still kid-friendly, and very limited in what it can do. For starters, unlike the GizmoPal, the GizmoGadget has a touch-screen. Children are able to scroll through a number of themes, and customise the watch-face, accordingly. Wearers can also send emojis, prerecorded messages, and make calls “walkie-talkie style.”
Additionally, the GizmoGadget allows for storage of up to 10 contacts. The kid-smart watch also comes equipped with a pedometer and jump rope counter. Like the GizmoPal, the GizmoGadget has a GPS locator and downloadable smart phone application. Also, a $5, monthly access fee is required. The GizmoGadget, due to its more smart phone-like design, costs $159, and comes in pink, red, dark blue, and light blue.
The GizmoPal and GizmoGadget are only two forms of wearable tech specifically designed for children. Most other kid-friendly wearables are not as advanced as Verizon and LG’s latest products, and primarily used for monitoring children through GPS locators. However, we have created a list of our Top kid-wearables, even if the clear focus is on the slightly older children.
3. Tinitell – a simple child monitor that lets your kid contact you at the push of one big button
The Tinitell is both a child monitor and mini-phone wristwatch. When lost, children simply need to push the face of the watch and speak the name of the person they’d like to call. The Tinitell automatically dials the person wished to be contacted and provides real-time, GPS location. The very simple design of the Tinitell places it as one of our favorite kid monitors. This one is perfect for the younger kids, and its reassuring for any parent to know that all their son or daughter needs to do to get in touch is press a big button and say ‘mommy’ or ‘daddy’.
4. HereO GPS Monitor lets you set your kids boundaries via its app
The soon to be released HereO is a GPS monitor disguised as a watch. The HereO is designed as a colourful and attractive wrist-watch specifically for kids, and with a built-in GPS monitor. IOS and Android users can download the free HereO app to monitor their child’s movements. Parents can designate “safe-zones” or boundaries, and when children cross the pre-set borders, an alert is sent through the app to the parents phone. Requiring a $5 monthly subscription, the HereO is one of our favorite kid-friendly wearables.
5. Filip 2 – a kid friendly wearable with a GPS locator
The Filip 2, somewhat similar to the GizmoPal, is another kid-friendly wearable. The wristwatch allows wearers to contact up to 5 pre-registered numbers and can also receive messages from the stored numbers, although, there is no way for users to reply. Additionally, the GPS locator allows parents to monitor their child’s movements via a smart phone app. Parents can also create “safe zones,” similar to the HereO or GizmoGadget. Available only in the US, the Filip 2 costs $150.
6. Loc8tor GPS for Kids
The Loc8tor GPS for Kids is a small device, meant to be carried in a child’s pocket, or in the supplied belt pouch. The Loc8tor allows parents to monitor the movements of their children through a smart phone or web browser. Safe-zone perimeters can be pre-set to prevent children from going beyond certain distances. The Loc8tor is accessible anywhere in the world, and cost $60 a month for location and tracking services. The simple design and differentiator of using a pocket device rather than a wristwatch, makes the Loc8tor a simple, yet effective child monitor.
FlashMe isn’t so much a GPS monitor, but rather a way for lost children to get back home. FlashMe is merely a brightly colored wristband with a QR code printed on it. The code, once scanned, contains the child’s address and/or contact info for his/her caregiver. FlashMe is a very basic, very cheap way to prevent children who are lost from actually getting lost. Banking on the idea that most strangers are honest and know what a QR code is, FlashMe Sydney is one of the most basic child monitors.