Smartwatches are not just for adults any more. But does your child really need one?
Today’s little ones are growing up surrounded by computers, tablets and Youtube. Technology has always been a part of their life – quite different from just a couple of decades ago. Some parents want to encourage their child to be more active so opt for a device that tracks fitness. Childhood obesity is a serious problem in many developed countries putting kids at risk for poor health. Other parents want to know their children are safe, so opt for a wearable that allows them to stay in touch and tracks their GPS location in real-time.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers for kids
We are not exactly spoiled for choice when it comes to smartwatches for kids, so its important to do some research before deciding on a purchase. There are lots of different factors to take into account. As with all our buying guides, we try to test every device personally. Where not possible we took user reviews into consideration and dismissed devices with bad customer reviews and low ratings. This left us with the following selection.
Ages: 4 to 12
The Kidizoom DX2 is the new and improved version of the company’s original watch. Now better than ever, this extremely popular device lets young ones take pictures, videos, play games, tell time and more.
The previous generation DX device allows kids to take pictures and videos via a 0.3 megapixel camera. There is a voice recorder that lets your little ones change their voice and give it cool effects, a pedometer, and games which can be played via the touch screen.
The new device brings all this and more. With a new sleek and stylish design the DX2 includes 55 digital and analog customizable watch faces. It features two cameras that allow children to capture everything from action videos to selfies and allows them to customize them into watch faces via the accompanying smartphone app. There is also an assortment of new games.
The watch helps teach kids how to tell time by letting them choose between a number of 3D digital and analog displays. In addition to the alarm, timer and stopwatch, there is a calendar feature and calculator so your child can work out simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems.
Ages: 3 to 8
Orbo’s kid-friendly, durable, touchscreen smartwatch is designed to teach 3 to 8 year olds the basics of timekeeping. The device comes with both analog and digital clock faces, along with alarm and stopwatch features. With a simple tap, the penguin “Time Master” reads hours/minutes aloud.
The feature packed device boasts Bluetooth functionality that allows it to connect with a cellphone. Your kids can now use the device on their wrist to answer phone calls on the go.
Boasting a vivid display with a highly navigable menu, the device conjures up 16 different activities, a simple touch and swipe interface, and charming sounds effects. Furthermore, there are instructive games, a built-in camera, talking hippo, time master and other fun, stimulating activities for your kids.
Ages: 4 and up
The kid-friendly GizmoPal provides easy, reliable ways to keep track of your children, and offers simple two-way calling so you can stay in touch at all times.
The durable form factor uses safe and sturdy materials for your child’s active lifestyle. The GizmoPal is IPX3 water resistant rated for everyday use (e.g.,hand washing).
At any time parents can open the smartphone apps and view their child’s location. You can also receive alerts of child’s location at pre-set times.
After setting boundaries, the watch will send notifications if it detects the child crossing them. This is great if they’re outside playing, or if someone is home watching them.
The device works as a phone, too. Your child can make calls to two caregivers and receive calls from up to four preregistered numbers. For added safety, the phone auto-answers calls after 10 seconds.
Ages: 12 months and up
The QQ Watch is a wearable phone and locator for kids, designed to give parents peace of mind while providing kids the freedom they need.
The device can make and receive calls easily. Add up to 5 family members and 16 friends via the app. The QQ watch automatically syncs contacts. With Wechat mode, a child can make friends via “People Nearby”. You can send voice chat or messages as well, without calling.
The QQ Watch uses a unique blend of GPS, GSM, WiFi, G-sensor and camera to allow parents to locate their child, both indoors and out. By opening the app, you can see your child’s location on a map at anytime. For multiple children using multiple devices, simply create a separate profile for each child and you can keep an eye on everyone on a single map.
In case of an emergency, your child can press the SOS button to initiate Emergency Mode. You can also set up safety zones or a virtual radius around a location, such as home, school or a friend’s house. Families members will receive notifications when your child steps are outside these designated areas.
There are two separate version of the watch – an EU Version and a US Version. The EU version works in most countries in Africa, Europe, Middle East, Oceania and Asia (apart from Japan, South Korea). The US Version works in USA, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and some American countries.
Ages: around 10 or under
For parents who want something to track teens, options are fairly slim. This is where the Caref GPS Phone watch steps in – a GPS enabled watch that allows parents to track the location of their teens.
Kids can call three numbers right from the phone. Mom and Dad can set up safe numbers on their app so the watch only accepts calls and texts from people who Mom and Dad choose.
Caref GPS features geofencing so you can be notified if the child leaves a designated area and 3 hour location breadcrumbs so you can see where they have been in case of emergency. If your child ever needs help, he/she simply presses the SOS button and it will place a call to three preset numbers (in order). A push notification alert is also sent to those three numbers as well as an email alert.
Ages: 6 to 10
This vibrant smart wearable, is the first in its class to be powered by Android 5.1 Lollipop. You’ve got a 3G smartwatch onboard, a GPS, pedometer and a SOS button in case of emergency. There’s a mic and speaker for hands-free calls, and because the watch has 3G, kids don’t need to carry a phone with them in order for it to work.
The tracker has a polycarbonate case, uses removable standard straps, features a 1.54-inch color capacitive touch screen display, 3G SIM card slot, microphone, and a loudspeaker. It also includes preinstalled apps for kids such as games, calculator, stopwatch, and more. And there is a step counter to ease the little one into the world of fitness tracking.
A newcomer to this list, the TickTalk 2 is the second generation of the kid’s wrist phone with locator.
The touch-screen device tries to cover all the bases. It counts steps and allows you to set fitness goals, it uses GPS+Wifi+LBS 3-way locator to provide the accurate location for indoors and outdoors in real time, it provides an SOS function and more.
When it comes to connectivity, the TickTalk 2 has a SpeedTalk SIM card and you will need to pay a monthly subscription fee. But this will allow you child to send and receive texts and make phone calls.
Before you purchase the smartwatch, you’ll need make sure that it will work in your area. If your area does not have 2G coverage, you’re out of luck. The device is compatible with T-mobile, SpeedTalk, US Mobile, Ultra Mobile and Airtime. AT&T, Verizon or Sprint are not compatible.
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