The growing selection of affordable smartwatches designed specifically for children has opened new options for parents who are shopping for wearables for younger kids. Wearables give parents peace of mind by helping them track a child’s location and allowing them to stay in touch via text and phone calls.
Smartwatches for children offer a more streamlined set of features, a simpler interface and bolder, funkier designs than the high-end options for adults. For example, TCL— parent company for Alcatel—is entering the South African market with TCL-branded smartwatches designed for kids. TCL’s Movetime Family Watch includes uncomplicated voice, messaging and tracking functionality, according to the company.
“Many parents are uncomfortable with the idea of giving younger children smartphones, yet would value a way to contact them as well as track their whereabouts. A smartwatch can be a great alternative—affordable, fun and easy to use. A lot of children love the idea of wearing a watch just like mom and dad,” said Ernst Wittmann, Global Account Director MEA & Country Manager – Southern Africa, at Alcatel.
Parents can pre-program contacts on the device so that children can see immediately who is phoning them as well as call people on their contact list. The GPS functionality allows parents to track the child’s location. It uses a dedicated cloud service to ensure that location information is always as accurate, quick and useful as possible. Parents can also use a feature called geo-fencing to configure “safe zones” such as their street or school and receive alerts when the child moves out of these zones.
Says Wittmann: “One advantage of a smartwatch is that children are less likely to lose them or drop and break them than a mobile phone since the device is worn on their wrist. It’s also an interesting way to learn to tell the time.”
Wittmann suggests that parents keep the following in mind when shopping for a smartwatch for a child:
Durability: Children’s smartwatches need to be able to take a beating in the rough-and-tumble of day-to-day life. Look for one certified to a standard such as IP67, which shows that it offers protection against dust damage, spillages and falls.
Security and privacy: A high-quality smartwatch will be built on the latest security standards and technologies to protect the child’s data and privacy. According to Whitman, TCL follows international industry and national government standards that lay out rigorous requirements for information security in the design of TCL MoveTime smartwatches.
It also subscribes to catalogues and databases of publicly known security vulnerabilities and exposures, so that it stays one step ahead of the cyber-criminals. In line with stringent EU data privacy laws, TCL manages data in the secure Amazon cloud, retains it for no more than six months, and does not sell personally identifiable information to third parties.
Battery life: A good smartwatch should offer a powerful, long-lasting battery combined with an interface that draws barely any battery so it can be a constant companion for the child.
Look and feel: Find something bold, bright and stylish, so the child will love wearing the watch as much as you love knowing they’re safe.
Functionality: Look for cool features that make life easier for you and your child. For example, easily distracted children might benefit from a calendar function to remind them to do their chores at a certain time.
By Ernst Wittmann, Global Account Director MEA & Country Manager – Southern Africa, at Alcatel