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Is a smart watch the same as giving my kid a phone?

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EverythingisNew:
We want to give our 10yr old an Apple Watch for Christmas. It requires a phone plan for her to text and call us from friendís houses or sports. Is this basically a smart phone with a small screen?

Reasons we want to give her the watch:
- sometimes I donít know where she is. As she gets older her friends move around the neighborhood and switch houses. I think the watch would allow me to know where she is. It would also allow me to tell her changes of plans with activities or sports (like someone elseís parents are picking you up).
- her friends have watches or phones. Not like we need to keep up with the friends, but this makes me think that they are safe.

Reasons I am worried:
- we donít want her on social media.
- I donít want another obsessive tech item.
- we donít want her talking to her friends too often outside of face to face.
- I donít want her to think she can do risker things because she can call me. One of her friends has a watch and she is always alone in the neighborhood walking around. I think the parents feel like she is safe because of the watch but she is much riskier. I donít think my daughter will disobey rules that we make, but I also donít want her to push us for new freedoms constantly now that she feels in contact with us through the watch.

What are your thoughts on smart watches for kids?

charis:

--- Quote ---- her friends have watches or phones. Not like we need to keep up with the friends, but this makes me think that they are safe.

--- End quote ---

I don't understand this comment.

Also not sure why someone would buy such an expensive watch for a kid.

Metalcat:
There are a bazillion watches out there with GPS tracking, why would you opt for the most expensive one??

Freedomin5:
DD is 9 years old and has a (non-Apple) smartwatch for us to track her whereabouts. It has a SIM, but only the people on the whitelist can call her. Parents determine who is on the whitelist via an app. I can also track where she is, and I can set map boundaries so that I get an alert if she (or the watch) moves outside the boundary. I can also set what apps are on her watch. Right now, the only capabilities Iíve allowed on her watch are to call me or her dad, to send voice messages to me or her dad, and a program that tracks the number of steps she takes each day, for which she can earn carrots to feed her ePet bunny. She only wears it when she walks next door to her friendís house by herself or if we are going somewhere where there is a possibility that she could get lost or separated from us.

Iím in China. Itís really popular here to have your younger kid wear a smartwatch, and I prefer a watch over a phone because itís strapped to her wrist and wonít get lost. Plus, itís not as expensive as a phone.

Her watch is basically a dumb phone with a touchscreen.

uniwelder:

--- Quote from: Metalcat on November 19, 2023, 06:46:19 AM ---There are a bazillion watches out there with GPS tracking, why would you opt for the most expensive one??

--- End quote ---

I'm going to guess OP has an iPhone of their own, so it helps with Apple to Apple functionality.  A used Apple watch costs about $100 or less, so its not really absurd versus the alternatives.  A new one (SE version) can be bought for $190.

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