You aren’t ready to give your child a cell phone just yet, but you want to be able to know they are safe at all times. Kids smart watch phones are a great alternative to an adult cell phone for a safe way to introduce your child to technology. There are a ton of options for your child’s first communication device--these are the most important questions to ask to make the best decision for your family!
Does It Have Location Tracking?
If you’re like us, you worry about your child when you’re apart. With GPS locating, kids tracking watches allow you to quickly check your child’s location and make sure they are safe. The best kids watch phones will have location tracking tied to a parental control app, so you can see your child’s current location immediately. Some kids wrist phones will even allow you to see your child’s past locations! Other children’s smart phone watches have geofencing, which will allow you to set safe zones for your child, but be aware this can lead to false alerts of your child traveling outside of the safe zone due to the nature of locating technology.
What About Parental Controls?
Most children’s smartwatch phones come with a parental control app where you can see your child’s location, send messages, and make phone calls. However, the best kids watch phones will also come with full parental controls that let you enable or disable features, block stranger’s calls, approve your child’s contacts, set emergency SOS contacts, and more!
Does It Have Games? Social Media? Internet Access?
If you’ve decided against an adult smartphone for your child, we’re guessing that games, social media, and internet access are major red flags for you (and they should be). Cyberbullying, online predators, phishing, and accidentally sharing private information are all valid concerns for parents today. Most kids smart watch phones will come with no internet access or social media. However, when choosing the best phone watch for your child, you’ll want to double check there are no games if screen time is a concern as many kids smartwatches will advertise they have none, only to find out later they do.
Can It Send Custom Messages?
Most children’s smart wrist watch phones can only send generic preset messages for your child to choose from and do not offer the ability to send customizable texts. However, some have the ability to personalize your child’s text responses and even send out custom text messages with voice-to-text dictating. Lastly, make sure your smart watch phone messaging is either through a secure messaging method or has end-to-end encryption to keep both you and your child’s information protected.
Does It Have Video Calling?
While most children’s smart watch phones can voice call or message, finding one that can video call is important. If the kids phone watch has a camera, your child will also be able to take photos and videos as well as use photo messaging with parent-approved contacts. If your top kids smartwatch pick does have a camera, be sure to check that it has at least a 2-megapixel camera so your video calling is crystal clear.
Does It Encourage Healthy Habits?
The best smartwatch for kids will give your child confidence as they develop lifelong skills. Look for features like Reminders or Things To Do lists to promote task management and responsibility. Step trackers or activity trackers are great for encouraging your child to live a healthy, active lifestyle. Do Not Disturb modes or scheduled silent times help your child focus during school hours. Some smart wrist watch phones even encourage your child’s creative side with a camera to create photos and videos!
Is It Durable?
You probably know that anything you give your child is bound to be dropped, smashed, scratched, dirtied, and everything in-between. While adult smartwatches are great for adults, glass screens are easily shattered with a small bump from any roughhousing. The best kids wrist phones will be durable with rubber casings, easy-to-clean, and have raised edges protecting the screen. You’ll also want to check if the kids wrist watch phone has water resistance, like IP67 and IP68, which are the most common.
Does It Come With Emergency SOS Contacts?
Besides GPS locating, you’ll want to check what other safety features the kids smart watch phone offers. Some children’s smartwatches will have an Emergency SOS auto dial to allow your child to call you in case of emergency. Other kids’ smart phone watches will be able to call your local 911 dispatch in case your child needs immediate emergency response, with the ability to disable the feature for younger children in your parental control app. A feature we hope you’ll never have to use, but great to have!
How Many Contacts Can Your Child Have?
The great thing about a children’s smartwatch is that parents get to decide who their child is contacting versus an adult cell phone with open calling and texting. Most children's smart watch phones will store between 5-10 contacts, which works if you want your child only calling you and a few family members. Other kids’ smart watch phones will store up to 50 contacts, which is better if you want to allow your child to connect with grandparents, friends, babysitters, teammates, and any other trusted contacts!
Look for Long-Lasting Battery Life
We’ve listed important features, but those are only usable with a long lasting battery! Individual battery life will vary depending on your location, cellular reception, feature usage, and more, but try to aim for a children’s smart watch phone that has at least an 800 mAh to 1,000 mAh battery for good battery life that lasts all day.
Choosing your child’s first non-cell phone or cell phone alternative is a big decision. Luckily, a kids smart watch phone is a perfect compromise for both parents and kids. Your child will enjoy all the features and independence while feeling like a big kid, and parents will have peace of mind knowing your child is safe. If you’re like us and aren’t ready to give your child a smartphone at such a young age, then a kids smartwatch is a great choice!