It’s more common to see kids glued to their smartphones and tablets than it is to see them playing outside. Every parent has to face the predicament in life where they’re torn between whether or not it’s the appropriate time to get their kids acquainted with different technologies. You, too, have probably asked yourself surprisingly loaded questions like: At what age should my child have a mobile phone? How much time would they spend on it? Wouldn’t it be just another distraction? Will it have a school mode? Is there any point in letting them get acquainted with advanced tech? Instead of all of these questions, ask yourself what the best smartwatches for kids are?
Because the answer to the best smartwatches for kids is the answer to all of your other tech-related questions.
Some smartwatches are made with specific users in mind, while some focus on appealing to the masses. The market research firm Gartner investigated that by 2021, there are high chances that 30% of smartwatch sales will be for children. Kids today seem to be born with an innate ability to figure technology out, anyway.
It goes without saying that after a child views his parents’ gadgets, he must want some of his own. Keep in mind that the best smartwatches for kids are carefully designed with both the children and the parents in mind. Smartwatches are perfect communication tools for kids and their parents since they don’t offer a lot besides the means of direct connection.
Some smartwatches can make calls, and some cellular models can have their own number and a SIM card. These can be useful with kids because they’re always active and around the risk of losing their phones. A smartwatch will remain on their wrist, making it possible for the communication and tracking features to existing that every parent needs.
Plus, many parents are understandably still uncomfortable with the idea of their young children owning a mobile phone. For parents like that, kids’ smartwatches could be a very easy solution to their indecision. Here’s why:
- You will never have to worry about how to reach your child again. Smartwatches are a good way to keep an eye on your children without coming in their way. A lot of kids’ smartwatches allow phone calls and texts and act as GPS trackers, which directly leads to the parents’ peace.
- Smartwatches can help encourage your children to go out and play instead of sitting on their phones the entire day, automatically reducing their screen time. With the option of an inbuilt pedometer and sometimes a calorie tracker, these smartwatches allow parents to keep track of their kids’ activity and make adjustments to their daily routine as they see fit while keeping their kids moving.
- Smartwatches could help children foster a sense of responsibility at a young age. The inbuilt tracking and safety features make parents feel freer about letting their children go out alone.
- Smartwatches (specifically the ones designed for kids) are far sturdier than phones are. And they’re built in a way that wouldn’t hurt your kids’ tiny wrists.
- You can use the parental controls and restrict game time, take away purchasing permissions, block unknown numbers, and allow certain authorized devices to interact with their watches.
- Some smartwatches also hold an SOS feature where they allow the kids to press and hold a button that sends a real-time alert straight to their parent’s phone, which could protect them from dangerous experiences.
- Smartwatches are much harder to lose than phones are since they’re fastened to your kids’ wrists.
- All smartwatches are cheaper than smartphones and have far more affordable data plans when compared to regular SIM cards.
So, in short, buying a smartwatch for a kid is… well, smart. But is it easy to pick the right one? That depends entirely on what you’re looking for in your kid’s smartwatch. Different watches provide different features. Of course, some needs are universal — like comfort, durability, and good battery life. But aside from that, do you require the watch to support GPS tracking? Fitness tracking? Activity tracking? Sleep tracking? Fun games? Two-way calls? Motion sensor? Are you looking for smartwatches for younger kids or older kids? Are the younger children in question even ready for a smartwatch?
You typically need to look out for the following features before buying your kid a smartwatch:
- Age-appropriate: Paying close attention to which age group the watch you’re buying is aimed at is very important. Suppose you got a smartwatch for your six-year-old kid when it was meant for a toddler. Manufacturers always recommend an age range for all their smartwatches.
- SOS Alerts: If there’s a chance that your child might be in a dangerous situation, they can push/hold a button that would send you an alert via your phone. This is one of the most necessary features of a smartwatch.
- GPS Tracking: If you have a young child, you’ve probably already experienced the sheer panic that comes from not immediately knowing where your child is. None of us want to experience that. There are many watches available now that are equipped with GPS for kids, which means you can track your child in real-time.
- Two-way Calling: Take note that not all smartwatches are equipped with the two-way calling feature, although it’s very necessary. This feature allows your kid to call you or receive a call from you.
- Water Resistant: Again, not a universal feature with smartwatches, but a fairly important one. If your kids spend a lot of time at the beach, waterpark, or pool, water damage could be very easily possible.
- Durability: Before you hand your kids a gadget, it’s almost a reflex to ensure that the said item is durable. Kids are active little beings. The smartwatch mustn’t come in the way of that just because it’s fragile.
- Battery Life: Pay close attention to the instructions on the manual before you give your smartwatch a certain amount of time to charge. Not adhering to that can easily put the battery’s life in danger.
But which is the best smartwatch for kids? Luckily for you, we have managed to narrow the options down!
With a user-friendly touchscreen, over 50 digital and analog face options, a camera for videos and photos, and even a monster-catching game, the VTech KidiZoom Smartwatch DX2 is the perfect buy for parents who are looking for a budget smartwatch. And if you’re looking for a watch to help keep your kids entertained and on time, and you’re not necessarily concerned about GPS tracking or being able to contact your child through the watch, this one may be for you.
It’s been one of the best smartwatches for kids available at a price that ranges around $40. The VTech KidiZoom Smartwatch DX2 gives a fitness tracker, as well as activity challenges. It’s a great watch for your toddler or young child.
- This smartwatch comes with built-in functions like an alarm clock, timer, as well as a calendar.
- If your child happens to be into photography, VTech’s camera is going to fascinate them to no end—with its quality and the option to add several photo effects and funny filters.
- The watch also allows the user to record audio and video and features a fun voice-changing effect.
- Easy to charge.
- Easy to use.
- Very engaging games.
- More games can be downloaded.
- Long battery life that lasts about 2 days.
- The watch does not have a GPS tracker, a way to communicate (therefore, no parental control), or an SOS button.
- No companion app for parents.
- It’s also quite bulky and looks pretty big on a kid’s wrist.
- Several reviews also said that the power switch could be difficult to turn on or off because of its size.
- No reminders can be programmed into the watch to keep your child focused in school, and no applications can be removed or blocked either.
- Switching from one screen to another is a tad bit slow.
Recommended age: 4-9.
2. Fitbit Ace
It isn’t that kids don’t use Fitbits – they’re seen as a must-have by many teens – but for child-safety and privacy reasons, children under 13 aren’t meant to use the bands or the app that accompanies it.
Just as its name suggests, Fitbit Ace is one of the best smartwatches for kids and is perfect if you’re searching for a watch that would inspire your kid to be active by tracking their steps and active minutes and then offering challenges for even more activity. The activity can be tracked via your Fitbit Ace family account, and this smartwatch can be worn around the clock and analyzes the user’s sleep quality.
Fitbit Ace is the perfect incentive to get your kids off the couch since it allows them to compete with their friends for badges, awards, and on-screen celebration animations. The Fitbit Ace activity tracker makes family time fun by helping kids build healthy habits with fun and motivating challenges, fitness tracking, as well as sleep tracking.
The Ace looks and feels like a grown-up Fitbit, with the company having thought carefully about child safety and making fitness fun instead of pressure.
- Keeps kids active.
- Great battery life that lasts up to five days.
- The strap is soft and easy on the wrist.
- Silent alarms.
- Easy to use and child-friendly.
- Step-tracking is almost as good as adult Fitbit models.
- Allows parental control — tracking your kid’s progress, sleeping habits, and approving who they connect to.
- Not many games.
- The screen is black and white.
- A lot of complaints about bad design, which has led to kids losing their trackers.
- Constant sync issues with the Fitbit mobile app.
- Far less of a durable watch than the regular Fitbit.
- Display sometimes unresponsive.
- No heart rate monitor.
Recommended age: 6-12.
In our list of best smartwatches for kids, next, we have Apple, which has now removed the ability to show the watch face all of the time, though, which has been a deal-breaker for a lot of people.
Not only just a smartwatch for children but also adults, Apple Watch SE, is truly a fantastic choice. It not only looks great but is also highly comfortable, with all of the general features that it brings in communication, fitness tracker, GPS tracker, and health + safety features. OLED screen, customizable faces, activity tracking, heart-rate tracking, fall detection, action for notifications, calling and messaging, you name the other features, and Apple Watch SE probably has it.
Apple does have a way of manufacturing products with extra features that people of all ages absolutely love. Excellent notifications, pin-sharp haptics, and snappy performance.
Do ask yourself twice if an Apple watch is truly what your child needs, though!
- Extremely comfortable.
- Plain but stylish.
- Immaculate performance.
- Quick-swap straps.
- The screen is brighter and clearer than any of the other watches.
- Advanced health features that promote healthy habits.
- Allows voice messages.
- The family setup allows you to control what your kid does with the watch and keep track of the child’s location.
- Like all Apple products, Apple Watch SE is also expensive. This means your wallet is about to take a hit if your kid’s smartwatch is lost or broken.
- No Android phone support.
- Short battery life (16-18 hours, approx.)
- No notification sounds on your phone if you’re connected to the watch.
- The screen is not on all the time.
- Sleep tracking is not great.
Recommended age: 5 and up. Works fairly well for both younger kids and older kids.
Being one of the most affordable kids’ smartwatches and holding more than fifty watch faces, the Little Tikes Tobi Robot Smartwatch allows your kids to enjoy fun games and other fun features and helps them learn and grow at the same time. Unlike other smartwatches, this one seems to be more on the ‘entertainment’ side, which makes sense because Tobi —the animated face on the smartwatch that can be interacted with — is mostly meant for kids around four years old, anyway.
- 512 MB of memory that can store up to 3000 photos.
- Has basic games.
- Not one, but two cameras.
- Rechargeable via USB plug-in.
- If your kid’s friend has a similar watch, they can share emojis and pictures among themselves.
- Durable and water-resistant.
- Does not support GPS.
- No way to text or call.
- It needs to be turned off before you charge the battery.
- A little too big for the intended age.
- Short battery life.
Recommended age: 4-8.
Being one of the best smartwatches for kids that allow two-way calling, Themoemoe is simply one of the best products in its field in the market. The watch includes a Do Not Disturb setting that lets your kids disable all functions except the SOS button during school hours.
- One of the best GPS trackers.
- Availability of games.
- It also has a camera.
- Fancy design that’s well-liked by kids.
- It pairs equally well with Apple and Android products.
- Easy to use.
- Regular complaints about the SIM card popping out of the watch.
- 2G network GSM SIM card required.
Recommended age: 4-8.
6. XPLORA GO
Next on our list of best smartwatches for kids, we have XPLORA GO. This smartwatch not only looks pleasant but also comes with features that would help your kids without confusing or distracting them. And because they collaborated with SONY, kids can link their smartwatch with their PlayStation and win in-game rewards for achieving fitness goals, which is a fantastic way to encourage them to stay active! It’s no less than a tiny phone on your kid’s wrist. Up to 10 contacts previously authorized by parents can go up on the watch’s memory.
- Available with not only a camera but a pedometer, an alarm clock, and a stopwatch.
- Can make phone calls directly, and the voice recorder is of very good quality.
- GPS tracking is available that would update you on your kid’s location.
- Allows parents to set a safety zone for their kids.
- A slightly weaker battery life than usually preferred (about 36 hours)
- Mildly notorious for weak signal.
- Not a very durable watch.
- It cannot send messages.
Recommended age: 5-12.
Animated characters. Activity tracking. A camera. The feature to allow calls. Being one of the best smartwatches for kids, this watch truly manages to be packed with just about everything you could want, available in Mint and Ocean Blue. You can stay in touch with your kids all day through voice and messaging functions. Vodafone has not specifically mentioned an age range for their watch.
As you start the watch, you get to choose from one of six famous Disney characters and themes for your watch like Minnie Mouse, Buzz Lightyear, Elsa, Darth Vader, Iron Man, and Baby Yoda. This character will then pop up anytime your kids use the watch. So depending on who they have chosen, they will be greeted by an enthusiastic little ‘hi’ from Minnie Mouse herself, a magical spell from Elsa, or a lightsaber swoosh from Darth Vader anytime you want check the time.
- Adorable, interactive inbuilt Disney characters.
- Safety features.
- Eye-catching design.
- Extremely clear screen.
- Light on the wrist.
- Do not pick up fingerprints easily.
- Instant messages don’t include a keyboard. Therefore kids can only choose between a list of pre-written messages.
- Does not support video.
- The layout of the Vodafone Neo app makes it simple and easy to use.
- The activity goal cannot be adjusted.
- 24-hour battery life that drains even faster upon heavy usage.
- The strap is fiddly to use.
The Controversy Surrounding Kids’ Smartwatches
Like with everything out in the real world, the best smartwatches for kids have been criticized too. In fact, these devices are banned in Germany because people are afraid their kids’ smartwatches might be hacked. And on the other hand, smartwatches are also accused of leading kids to start calorie count at an age that’s way too young, instead of the so-claimed promotion of ‘healthy habits.’
Many schools also don’t allow smartwatches for their students because of privacy concerns, safety issues, distraction issues, inequality issues, and fear that the kids might use their watches to cheat.
Additionally, a recent investigation by the Norwegian Consumer Council has disclosed that it’s not the best idea to put an internet-enabled GPS tracking device on your child’s wrist like slapping a target on someone’s back. They have also said that the supposedly safety-enhancing features (an SOS button that alerts the parents if the child is in distress alerts the parent whenever the child enters or leaves a designated area) were extremely unreliable.
It’s obviously worrisome, considering that their kids’ safety was the very reason why parents started to rely on smartwatches. It turns out, the majority of children’s smartwatches are not only commonly hold security flaws but also majorly lack any actual protections for the entire data they collect about their customers.
None of the watches investigated by the NCC would let you delete your child’s data or ensured anyone that the same marketers who sold the watch to you did not use that data to sell something to the customer.
Only a little while ago, the FBI issued a consumer notice about Internet-connected toys — warning they absolutely could put the privacy and safety of children at risk due to the large amount of personal information that may be we unintentionally allow them a peek into the whole while we’re using the said device.
All in all, people worry that these watches imbue a “false sense of security” in their users.
Check out other tech-related articles by us: 5 Ways to Use Technology to Keep The Spark Alive in Your Relationship.