As kids get older, having a little bit more independence helps them mature, make their own choices (and accept the consequences if they make bad ones), and build confidence. But it still keeps you up at night. Let us propose a compromise: a kids smartwatch. The best smartwatches for kids allow them to roam while you to lovingly monitor their location via military-grade GPS. Unlike much of parenting, everybody gets what they want.
Unlike smartphones — with their unfettered access to the internet and social media, data charges, and susceptibility to getting lost — smartwatches are ideal communication tools for kids and parents. They also have GPS tracking, calling, and texting, along with a pre-approved contact list. Bonus: All are cheaper than smartphones, and upkeep is minimal with much more affordable data plans.
There are a ton of watches out there with screens for kids. But while they may measure daily steps and shoot videos, some watches don’t give kids or parents the means to actually talk to or text each other. The watches on our list have touchscreens that are easy to navigate, and let adults and children stay in touch. Which is the entire point.
Angel Watch knows that while your child isn't ready for his or her first smartphone, as a parent, you sure could appreciate some of its features. Children can call and receive audio and HD video calls from a phone book of numbers that you yourself control. It also includes multi-source location tracking with geo-fencing, out-of-bounds alerts, and a one-touch SOS button. Even better: No social media. Service is $10 a month.
Moochies is, first and foremost, a wrist-mounted smartphone, but then it curtails the function through its own software. Via its app, you control the features and functions, including voice calling, alarms and reminders, GPS tracking, safe zones, and SOS. It's also waterproof for kids who play hard. An included camera is nice. Service is $10, with no contract required.
A brilliant watch that lets parents know where their kids are, call or text them, and set GPS boundaries. If your child has a tendency to wander off, you can check their location using the GizmoHub app and set GPS limits. If your kid crosses one, you'll get an automated alert. Bonus: Parents can establish goals and reminders, and count kids' steps to try and keep them somewhat active. The watch works on the Verizon network so you'll need to enroll in a plan. Depending on use, you get four days' worth of battery life.
This is the priciest watch on our list, but it gives kids access to the Apple ecosystem. What that means for you: You can add up to five family members to your existing services, including Apple Music, Apple TV+, and Apple News+, and share app purchases and the family photo album. Kids can call or text you. You, the organizing adult, invites family members to join the plan and decides what anyone under 13 has access to and which features they can use. Parents approve any downloads or purchases your kid makes. Plus, parents set screen time limits, and limit what apps kids can access. The Find My app lets you know where your kids are, and alerts you if they change locations. Plus, you can set up a family calendar where everyone can view, add, or change events and appointments.
This kids' smart watch slash phone uses the 4G network, and lets kids send text messages, voice messages, photos, and emojis. Plus, it works with group chat. It also has video, calling, and GPS tracking capabilities. The big screen is great for little hands, and the battery lasts a day, so you do need to charge it every night. Note that it's only compatible with T-Mobile and AT&T networks.
This kid-friendly watch from Timex sends your child's location to the secure app and notifies you when they leave a designated area. Your kid gets two-way calling within a private contact group. Plus, the watch lets kids send recorded voice messages, instant messages, and preset messages. There's also an SOS emergency alert button. It works on the Metro and T-Mobile networks.
This incredibly cheap device has a lot of function but should be considered limited compared to others on this list. After inserting a 2G SIM card (not included), your child can call directly to you. There's also an SOS button, GPS tracking, and geofencing. Many customers reported a small band for older children, however, so this should be considered for those with slender wrists or for kids under 7.
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