There’s a ton of tech in the marketplace aimed at kids, but not all of it is good for them. While many parents might prefer to raise their kids tech-free, this option becomes less realistic every year.
Your kid will most likely start begging for a phone at an early age. However, phones often hold a lot of responsibility for a young child. One way to deter that conversation is to offer an alternative like a kids smartwatch instead. But before you make any decisions, be sure to look at the discussion from all angles.
Kids, Technology, and the Importance of Being Intentional
Before you invest in any form of technology for your kids, take time to formulate the ground rules. For younger children, in particular, it’s important to emphasize that technology will become part of an ongoing conversation. You plan to monitor all your kids’ tech-related activities and ask questions from time to time. Everyone agrees in advance that access to technology is a privilege, not a right.
While it’s always unwise to make fear-based decisions, there’s no denying that the stakes are high. Unrestrained access to digital media is a leading cause of depression in children, and this was true before the pandemic of 2020.
Social media, in particular, all too quickly turns into an anxiety-provoking setting where kids start to think of themselves as “less than” or even fall victim to cyberbullying. Parents need to maintain control over when and how much digital use makes sense.
Smartwatches for Kids Offer a “Middle Ground” for Family Tech
The people at Gabb Wireless get this. Founded to help parents deal with these technological tugs-of-war, Gabb provides wireless products that allow parents to decide how much tech their kids can handle.
The company recognizes there is no cookie-cutter solution to all tech-related questions, as each kid is unique. Every family has standards for what is acceptable. The Gabb “tech-in-steps” initiative provides a series of devices that teach kids how to grow with the appropriate amount of technology. Gabb helps kids use the right amount of tech at the right time, easing into the responsibilities of tech use.
Gabb Wireless aims to get past the all-or-nothing approach to kids and tech by providing a wide array of choices. Parents have the chance to leverage the best features of technology without worrying about its downsides.
Recently, Gabb expanded its product line with a new smartwatch for kids. The Gabb Watch is the perfect first step in wearable smart tech for kids. It functions as a stand-alone phone with a unique phone number, rendering reliable parent-kid connection through unlimited calling and messaging capabilities.
Parents are enjoying the new-found connection with their kids through the Gabb Watch:
“Being able to communicate with my kids throughout the day has brought us closer. Seeing a little ‘I love you’ message pop up on my phone brightens my day. Being able to reassure and help them when they encounter difficulties helps me feel like I’m there for them no matter what.”
The phone aspect of the Gabb Watch comes with additional safety features, namely a custom contact list. Parents can select up to 10 friends and family to include in their child’s list of contacts. All contacts can communicate via calls and texts with the kid’s Gabb Watch, while other unrecognized numbers are blocked. This ensures no spam notifications reach your child, and no inappropriate communication between your child and a stranger.
In addition to the phone, the Gabb Watch also functions as a GPS active tracking device, providing location services that parents can track. With this GPS feature, parents can use their kid’s smartwatch to set up predetermined “safe zones” — geographic locations designated as safe by the parents. Examples might include school, a grandparent’s home, or a best friend’s house. Many smartwatches for kids, like Gabb’s, can then be configured to send out alerts to the parent whenever a child moves outside of or enters a designated safe zone.
In case of emergencies, the Gabb Watch also comes equipped with an SOS/emergency contact button. Placed on the side of the watch, a child simply holds the button down for 6 seconds to send an SOS call to their emergency contact.
The Gabb Watch is a prime example of a focused, safe smartwatch for kids. If your child isn’t ready for a smartphone, a kids smartwatch is an alternative to ensure parent-child connection without opening up full internet access.
Not Sure If Your Kid Is Ready?
If you’re just now starting to think about getting a kids smartwatch for your young child, the good news is that countless other parents have already encountered the bleeding edge for you. Many of the most common concerns for outfitting kids with wearable technology have already been dealt with, letting you benefit from rookie mistakes and lessons learned.
“I don’t want my kid to be disruptive at school.”
When parents began outfitting their kids with tech, the level of disruption in the classroom increased. Teachers quickly sent home impassioned “anti-tech” notes when kids played with their tech instead of paying attention in class.
The Gabb Watch addresses this issue with a “Lock Mode” setting, which parents control on their Gabb account. Through the MyGabb app, parents can customize the “Lock Mode” feature to enable or block all incoming notifications during agreed-upon hours of the day.
During school hours, for example, parents can turn the watch on “Lock Mode” to prevent incoming calls or texts. In an emergency, kids can still make calls and receive calls from their SOS/emergency contact when the watch is in “Lock Mode”.
“I don’t want my kid sitting on the couch all day.”
Parents also worry about their kids becoming so enamored with new tech that they forget to go outside and play in the sunshine. Luckily, many devices, including the Gabb Watch, offer features that promote physical activity and provide rewards for engaging in healthier lifestyles.
The GabbGo game on the Gabb Watch incentivizes physical activity and task management by rewarding every goal or task accomplished with redeemable coins. The game includes a digital pet that kids can care for throughout the day in exchange for coins. The built-in step counter allows kids to set daily step count goals and earn coins when they achieve their goal.
Through the MyGabb app, parents can customize a list of tasks their child must complete each day to earn the maximum number of coins. These coins are redeemed for additional experiences on the GabbGo game.
The benefit here is that parents are free from nagging their children to be active and contribute to the household. With GabbGo, kids complete their assigned tasks and then proactively ask for more chores. This brilliant incentive tool is turning them into kids with a drive for achievement.
Parents have been amazed at their kid’s incredible response to this motivational game:
“My daughter adores the GabbGo app. She loves taking care of her pet, checking her steps, and completing tasks. She was ecstatic when she had saved up enough virtual coins to buy the unicorn as her new pet.”
“Her bedroom has never stayed so clean! She actually started asking for chores so she could earn more coins.”
“My daughter is extremely motivated with the GabbGo app. Reading and making her bed was always a struggle. Now that she has a new pet, her attitude towards work has completely changed!”
How does a smartwatch for kids work?
Most often, kids smartwatches eliminate advanced features that can cause problems. For example, most smartwatches for kids do not offer a camera feature. Many also eliminate the ability to download and install games or other apps, as kids may not understand the potential financial consequences or manage their time effectively.
A smartwatch for kids is a device that helps keep track of children, enables communication, and introduces a child to wearable technology.
How do I choose a kid’s smartwatch?
As noted, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for every family. Every child matures at an individual rate; personalizing their temperament and legitimate need for communication.
As you consider buying tech for your child, understand the difference between “want” and “need.” If you determine a smartwatch is a necessity, add to the mix what you know to be true about your child’s maturity level and demonstrated ability to care for possessions.
What should I look for in a kid’s watch?
Simple! Look for a kids smartwatch that provides a perfect fit for both your child and your family’s level of comfort with internet-enabled tech. Search diligently as you compare different products. Many manufacturers offer similar features, but not all give parents an equally granular ability to control a child’s internet access.
The typical considerations — price, monthly service agreement, advanced features, style, color, etc. — will come into play all by themselves. Just don’t allow yourself to get talked into accepting some features you suspect your child isn’t ready for.
Is the Gabb Watch any good?
Short answer: Yes. Gabb Wireless was founded by parents and made for parents. Gabb’s business model keeps child safety and parental choice in the foreground for their entire line of products.
They also haven’t compromised on the quality of their tech or monthly service. Engineered with kids and rough play in mind, Gabb tech is resistant to dirt, sweat, and moisture. Its associated apps are simple to use and feature an intuitive interface.
How much does a Gabb Watch cost?
It costs $99. Monthly service plans vary in cost based on the term of your contract. Like most wireless providers, the cost decreases the longer you commit to Gabb. Parents can choose to use the Gabb Watch with no contract and pay $16.99 monthly, the most expensive option. Gabb also currently offers one-year and two-year service agreements, ranging from $9.99 per month to $12.99 per month.
Where can I buy a smartwatch for kids?
Smartwatches are available at most major retailers and electronics stores and on popular online shopping sites. Remember to add in the monthly costs of service as you shop.
And be sure to do a deep dive into the service agreements. You’ll want to know how much they cost, of course, but there are other considerations as well.
For example, you don’t want to buy a smartwatch to track your kids’ location and control their access to the internet only to discover their data is regularly monitored and uploaded to third parties. In particular, be sure you understand and agree to all of the terms and conditions regarding privacy, data sharing, wireless carriers, and other authorized third parties, if applicable.
If the Gabb Watch seems like the way to go for you, you can learn more or purchase it on the Gabb Wireless site.
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