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Have you noticed a growing trend of smartwatches for kids?
If you’re a parent who’s concerned about the challenges of navigating the digital age with kids, you’re not alone. From growing questions about the effects of screen time to social media addiction, inappropriate online content, and more – homeschool parents are wondering why it has to feel like all or nothing when it comes to technology.
What we know is that more young kids than ever are engaging and learning on the world wide web. In fact, more than 50% of kids under the age of 11 in the U.S. now have smartphones. Sure, the connected world offers homeschool families so many incredible opportunities and resources! But it’s also a gateway to much more.
When it comes to the developmental impacts of screens, there’s still lots to be studied. We do know that the emerging research is concerning. Numerous studies have shown strong correlation between social media, screen time, and elevated risk of depression in teens. Not to mention lower mental performance and test scores.
In light of these realities, it’s easy to feel like there are no good options for families. You can leave the kiddos completely disconnected or hand them an unsupervised portal to the world. But the good news is, there’s a growing trend that is offering parents and kids connection without compromise.
The growing trend in kids smartwatches
As more parents are raising the alarm, there’s a growing trend toward safe alternatives that don’t sacrifice safety for connection. Leading the way are connected smartwatches for kids. They are quickly becoming a leading alternative to cell phones for younger ages.
These kinds of devices have lots of obvious benefits. They tend to be simple and straight forward, give parents more control and connection, and sit right on your kid’s wrist! But parents should know that not all kids connected devices are created equal. Many devices available on Amazon are, at best, just game watches or low-quality 2G devices that require finding your own SIM card and service connection. At worst, they are non-secure and leave your kids vulnerable to hacking or communication from strangers.
5 Benefits of Smartwatches for Kids
So what are the top reasons homeschool families are opting for kids smartwatches and what features matter most? Here’s a rundown for homeschool families who are looking for better ways to navigate the digital world.
Connection That’s Worry-Free
It’s somewhat shocking that until recently there haven’t been reliable options for parents who need to stay connected with kids but don’t want to hand them a portal to the world wide web. If you’re a homeschool parent, odds are you value being involved in your child’s life – which is why connection matters so much.
The best quality kids smartwatches provide a safe alternative for connection that’s intentionally limited. These will come ready out of the box with SIM cards for nationwide calling and messaging, along with simple instructions and easy to set up. There are no shortage of kids game watches or activity trackers out there, but for parents who are looking for peace of mind, a kids smartwatch with reliable service for calling a messaging is the top priority.
A “Safety-Belt” Approach to Technology
It’s amazing when you think about it. From child safety seats in cars to training wheels on bikes, we work hard to protect and prepare kids for each new phase in safe steps…but that kind of safety belt approach is often forgotten when it comes to technology.
Parents today are more concerned about connection, the internet, and digital life than ever before – and rightly so! If you’ve seen the documentary The Social Dilemma then you’ll already know what I mean. There’s a growing collective voice from parents pushing against the rise in young kids with smartphones – and the consequences that come along with it.
The simple but powerful thing about the right kids smartwatch is that it’s specifically for kids but with parents in mind. When searching for the right kids smartwatch for your family, look for ones that put you as the parent in the driver seat to help teach and train. That means managing the watches approved contacts, automatically preventing internet browsing, social media, or calls and messages from strangers.
When it comes to tech, having the right tools can help homeschool families make teaching kids health technology habits a part of their learning journey so kids engage with technology in the right ways at the right age.
Location Tracking for Peace of Mind
As a parent, it’s alway hard to balance giving kids independence while also helping keep them safe. One major reason kids smartwatches are becoming so popular (especially when compared to the old “dumb flip phone” option) is thanks to their location tracking capabilities.
The best kids smartwatches are equipped with a GPS tracking feature that can send real-time information to a parent app. Whether it’s a playdate across the street, sports practice, or homeschool field trip, having GPS to keep track of kids helps both parents and kids build confidence at the right stages.
Help When Trouble is Near
When was the last time you had one of those heart-stopping parent moments? A parent’s worst nightmare is not being able to protect their child in an emergency. Of all the reasons that parents are rushing toward connected kids devices, this may be the top of the list. Kids smartwatches offer a natural alternative to cell phones (and one that stays on their wrist!), and the best models are equipped with designated easy-access SOS features that let kids quickly contact parents if trouble is near.
The leading models not only give parents peace of mind with easy-to-activate emergency calling, but also have the additional feature of auto-GPS tracking and sending location updates to the parent’s phone whenever SOS mode is launched.
A Tool for Healthy Habits
According to Common Sense Media, kids between the ages of 5 and 8 years old spend over three hours per day in front of screens on average. That average has never been higher, and it’s a big reason why many parents are increasingly concerned. Homeschool families know what powerful tools screens can be to help kids learn – but there are limits. More and more parents are looking for ways to help encourage kids to get outside and stay active.
That’s where features like kids step counters and activity trackers come in! The top kids connected devices generally include pedometers or step counters, along with other features like calling and GPS tracking.
You can also set goals on a parent app that kids can track each day, week, or month. Think of it as a tool for creative family fun and incentivizing an active lifestyle. Maybe you set a family step goal each day or week and pick a prize for the winner!
There’s no doubt that the digital age makes parenting a greater challenge. The good news is that better family-safe options are starting to emerge. Because families shouldn’t have to choose between staying safe and staying connected! The media and technology companies are on a never-ending quest for our kids’ attention. Simple tools like kids smartwatches are a great way to fight back and find the right steps and stages that fit your kids and your family.