It can be hard to let your child have a taste of freedom — after all, the world is full of malicious people and accidental tragedies, and as a parent, it’s difficult not to think about those.
You question yourself constantly, but you want your child to grow up independent, so how can you strike a good balance?
A kid’s GPS watch is a perfect way. It lets your child enjoy some shiny tech while allowing you to keep a watchful eye on their movements.
Whether it’s walking themselves to school or playing with a friend at the park, a GPS watch is a minimally invasive way to make sure your kid stays safe.
Let’s go over the most important factors to consider when looking for a safe GPS watch for your children.
Should I Buy a GPS Watch for My Kids?
A GPS watch is a good option for any child that’s too young to use a phone, but old enough that they want some independence and are starting to explore when mom and dad aren’t around.
It can help you feel more secure when they go to visit with a new friend, if they get themselves to school, or if you want to let them play relatively unsupervised.
However, if your child already has a phone, a GPS watch might be overkill. You can use a simple parental control app on their phone instead to achieve all the same functionality, without purchasing a second device.
What to Look for When Buying a Kids’ GPS Watch
There are several important factors to consider to ensure that the device is safe, reliable, and easy to use. Here they are:
1. Location Tracking
Make sure the GPS watch has a reliable and accurate location-tracking feature that can be accessed by parents. Some devices come with an accompanying app that can be used to track the child’s location in real time.
2. Data Plan
Most watches will require you to get a 2G sim card and data plan in order for them to function. One of the most popular is SpeedTalk Mobile, which could be as cheap as $5/month for your child’s watch.
However, you should also check if your existing carrier offers watches or children’s plans and decide if that might be a better fit.
3 Watch Features
At minimum, a child’s smartwatch needs to have a GPS tracking feature, but most watches will go beyond this.
You should look for extras like two-way calling, a camera, and geofencing, all of which will make you feel more secure and give you a better idea of what your child is up to.
Also, look for a device that has a “SOS” or “emergency” button that can be used to quickly call for help in case of an emergency.
4. Watch Design
We all know the iconic sleek design of the Apple Watch, but kids tend to be a lot rougher on their possessions than adults and need something with more of a protective factor.
Aside from color, you should check if a watch is waterproof and if the screen appears to be shielded from accidental bumps or collisions.
5. Privacy and Security
You should also look for an option that has a clear and secure process for setting up and managing the device, including password protection and data encryption.
Here are some other questions you might be interested in checking out.
Are GPS watches safe for children?
Yes, it can be safe. And the device can be helpful for parents to keep track of their child’s whereabouts and ensure their safety.
However, beware of the potential privacy and security risks associated with using GPS watches, as well as any potential risks to the child’s emotional and psychological well-being.
Can a GPS watch be hacked?
Yes, it can be hacked, just like any other device that is connected to the internet.
A hacker can potentially gain unauthorized access to the GPS watch and its data, such as location information, and use it for malicious purposes.
Also, it may sound incredible but a hacker may be able to control the device and use it to track the child’s location, listen in on conversations, or even send messages to the device.
Useful Tips & Tricks
It’s important to teach kids digital safety as we move into a more and more connected world.
You should have regular conversations with your child about how to be safe online, and these ten starter tips from anti-malware company AVG can help you out.
Parenting Magazine also has plenty of advice to offer, including recommended programs and methods for keeping your kids independent but protected.
Even with a smartwatch to keep them safe, kids should be well aware of “stranger danger” and be taught basic safety procedures.
Letting go is hard, and thankfully you can do it baby steps at a time with a GPS watch for your child.
They get to enjoy a fun digital device, while you get the peace of mind of knowing right where they are at all times. Whether they’re two grocery aisles or two blocks away, you know you’ve got their back.
However, keep in mind that a GPS watch is not a replacement for proper parenting and supervision. The watch should be used in conjunction with other safety measures, such as proper education on web safety and open communication with your child.