Everything Parents Need to Know Before Purchasing an Apple Watch for Kids
Keeping up with the latest technology on your child’s “must-have” list can be a full-time job. We’re here to help. If you’re considering purchasing an Apple Watch for kids, then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll address some of the pros and cons of this high-tech gadget as well as some sage consumer advice for those in the market.
- What Exactly Does an Apple Watch Do?
- Pros and Cons of Apple Watches for Kids
- Is There a Kid’s Version of Apple Watch on the Way?
- What Is the Best Apple Watch for Kids?
- Alternatives to the Apple Watch
What Exactly Does an Apple Watch Do?
If your kid has been bugging you to buy an Apple Watch, then you’ll probably want to know what exactly this device does. The truth is, though, that this smartwatch has so many different features, that it might be more efficient to list what it doesn’t do!
Seriously, though—it’s safe to say that an Apple Watch is not your typical wristwatch. In fact, telling time may be the feature your child is least interested in. Aside from this most basic function, there’s so much more that the watch has to offer.
Like Your iPhone, But Smaller
For instance, the Apple Watch functions as an extension of the iPhone. If your child already has a smartphone from Apple, you can easily pair it to the watch. That way, your child can make calls, send text messages, and even use their social media accounts, all from the watch itself.
Maybe your kid doesn’t have a phone yet. That’s not a problem with Apple’s Family Setup. This feature allows parents to connect their child’s Apple Watch to mom or dad’s iPhone. It’s ideal for families with younger children who aren’t yet ready for the responsibility of having a smartphone.
Tons of Health and Fitness Features
A new cellular device might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about health and fitness. Apple is trying to change that, though. The Apple Watch has so many features linked to wellness that it’s difficult to list them all.
If you’re worried about your kid being a couch potato, for instance, the watch can help with that. Not only will it count steps, but it will also nudge your child to get up and move if he or she has been lounging around playing video games or watching YouTube for too long.
Newer models of the Apple Watch have advanced health features that can monitor your child’s blood oxygen levels and even perform echocardiograms. Of course, these are nice features to have, but they won’t replace regular visits to your pediatrician!
Apps and Entertainment
Now, for the reason your kid has been asking you for an Apple Watch in the first place—the entertainment factor! With an Apple Watch, your child will never be bored. That’s because they’ll always be just a tap away from a large database of music, podcasts, audiobooks, apps, and games.
Pros and Cons of Apple Watches for Kids
While it’s true that the Apple Watch has almost limitless functionality, the jury is still out as to whether or not it’s ideal for kids. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide what’s best for your child. We’ll list some of the pros and cons below to help you make an informed decision.
Advantages of the Apple Watch for Kids
One of the best arguments in favor of smartwatches for kids is the safety benefit. With the Apple Watch, parents are able to keep tabs on their children, whether they’re at school, at a friend’s house, or at the park. As an added perk, the Find My Kids app is fully compatible with the Apple Watch, so you can track your child’s movements and receive alerts when they arrive or depart certain locations. Simply download the app from the watch or other connected device.
Other safety benefits are available through the Apple Watch as well. For instance, newer versions can detect a fall and alert emergency services. That way, if you’re not around and your child has a bicycle accident, for instance, he or she will still get the necessary help.
Aside from safety, the biggest draw of the Apple Watch for kids is the health benefits it offers. The watch comes with a built-in activity tracker that not only records activity, but encourages it as well. Your child will receive alerts and reminders to be active, and they can share their progress with others.
The Apple Watch also features a heart rate monitor. The device will send alerts if your child’s heart rate is too high or too low, or if there is any irregular activity to be concerned about. When considering the potential health benefits of the smartwatch, keep in mind that only the latest version comes with the ECG app.
Disadvantages of the Apple Watch for Kids
There are clear benefits of the Apple Watch for kids, but it’s not without its drawbacks. One of the device’s biggest cons is the hefty price tag.
Depending on the style, the Apple Watch 7 will set you back anywhere from $400 to $750. Previous models are less expensive, but definitely not cheap. It’s up to you to decide if your child can be trusted with such a pricey device, or if you think it’s worth the investment.
Is An Apple Watch an Invitation for Bullying (Or Worse)?
Speaking of price, the expense of the Apple Watch could also make your child a target for bullying or theft. If other kids see that your child has a fancy digital watch, they could become jealous and lash out. It’s not uncommon for adults to be robbed for their smartwatches, so children could be even more vulnerable.
Is There a Kid’s Version of Apple Watch on the Way?
If you’re on the fence about whether or not to purchase an Apple Watch for your child, you may be wondering if it’s wise to wait for a kids-only version of the device. Unfortunately, it’s yet to be seen whether such a version will ever be released.
That’s right—it’s impossible to predict whether Apple will develop a smartwatch specifically for kids. What we do know, however, is that the tech-giant is constantly working to make their wearables more kid-friendly. Some of the most recent developments have included the Family Setup option, Memoji app, and Family Cash app for chores and allowances.
What Is the Best Apple Watch for Kids?
When considering an Apple Watch for your child, there are a few different options to consider. Let’s look at each of these specifically.
Apple Watch Series 3
The Apple Watch Series 3 is the basic version of the watch, and it’s the least expensive with a starting price of just $199. Unlike the newer models of the watch, the Series 3 comes with a smaller screen option of 38mm, which could be more suitable for little kids.
It also boasts the same battery life and retina display as pricier models. Still, parents drawn in by the Family Setup feature or the cellular connectivity option will be disappointed as these selections are only available with newer versions of the Apple Watch.
Apple Watch SE
Parents who are willing to spend a little more on a smartwatch for their kids should consider the Apple Watch SE. While it doesn’t offer a smaller screen for children, it does include many of the same features as the latest model of the watch for less money.
For instance, the coveted Family Setup option is available on both the SE and the Apple Watch 7 as is the fall detection feature and noise monitoring for hearing protection. These are all features that appeal to moms and dads since they offer some protection and security for little ones. The starting price for the SE is $279.
Apple Watch Series 7
If your budget will allow for it, the Apple Watch Series 7 does have some key features that kids and parents can benefit from. For example, it’s the most durable of the Apple watches available, since it comes with both stainless steel and titanium options. The Apple Watch Series 3 and SE versions only come in an aluminum finish.
Aside from the construction of the watch, other features exclusive to the Apple Watch Series 7 include the blood oxygen and ECG apps as well as a faster charging option. Still, you can expect to pay up to two or three hundred dollars more for these extras.
Alternatives to the Apple Watch
If you’re open to smartwatch options outside of Apple, then certainly, there are more choices. Here are a few to consider:
Unlike any of the Apple options, the Fitbit Ace is a smart wristwatch designed specifically for kids. With its emphasis on physical fitness, though, it lacks many of the safety and security features that parents may desire for their children. The price point of just $79.95 is an attractive appeal of the watch, however, and parents can consider adding security features through third-party apps.
Garmin Vivofit Jr.
Another alternative to the Apple Watch for kids is made by GPS giant Garmin. The Vivofit Jr., priced at just $89.99, is more comparable to the Fitbit Ace, though, as it prioritizes kids’ movements and activities over safety and security. Still, there are some attractive options for parents such as the activity monitoring feature and the In Case of Emergency (ICE) widget.
If your child already has a smart device, another option to consider is the Pingo app for kids. Moms and dads can simply download this app onto an existing device and get many of the same features of an Apple Watch or alternative without the added expense.
Pingo is specifically designed for safety, not fitness. If you’re more concerned about your child getting lost or finding themselves in a dangerous situation, then this is an ideal app for you. Pingo will give you updates on your child’s exact whereabouts in real-time and send a signal in case of emergency.
Is there an Apple Watch specifically for kids?
No. However, the Apple SE and Apple Series 7 watches come with Family Setup options. This means you can customize the watch specifically for your child.
What age group is the Apple Watch designed for?
Since the Apple Watch is not specifically designed for children, it’s up to you to decide whether your son or daughter is old enough to have one. If you’re concerned about your child losing the device, consider a less expensive option. On the other hand, if you are worried your kid might break the watch, invest in the Apple 7 Series, which is significantly more durable.
Does my child have to have an iPhone to use an Apple Watch?
Not necessarily. If you decide to go with the Apple SE or Series 7 watch, you can use Family Setup to connect your child’s watch to your own personal iPhone. There’s no need for your kid to get an iPhone just to use the watch.
Apple Watch for Kids, or Nah?
The bottom line is that if you’re looking for a top-tier watch that will keep track of your kids while entertaining them and giving them some bragging rights, then the Apple Watch might be the easiest choice. However, it will cost you, especially if you and your kid want to enjoy all the benefits of the smartwatch—and who doesn’t?!
On the other hand, if you just want a way to stay on top of your child’s whereabouts, there are less expensive smartwatches to consider. Plus, if your kid already has a smart device, you can simply download a third-party app and get many of the same features the Apple Watch offers for a whole lot less money. Ultimately, the choice is yours!
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