Special edition Kids

You want to make sure that they are safe, you want to be able to contact them, but you don’t yet want to grant them access to the dangers of the web, and you not yet sure they are mature enough for a phone. What do you do?

This is already a very controversial subject, and Germany has already banned smartwatches targeted at children due to fears that they could be hacked. Given the technology now available this may have been a slightly trigger happy approach, but it does point to the sensitivity of the issue.Accusations have already emerged regarding ‘Helicopter’ parents using devices to constantly monitor the movements and whereabouts of their offspring. The idea of fitness trackers for kids has also been accused of persuading children to calorie count far too early in life.

That having been said, enthusiasm for child based wearables is obviously there, not only that but given the number of devices coming to market it appears to be a strongly growing sector. The mainstream manufacturers seem to have taken the criticisms on-board and in the main they have built in safeguards around their devices to work around the areas for concern.

Given all of the above it would be remiss of me to fail to investigate the market and not to show you my findings. Below are some of the more mainstream products currently out there. As usual i have included links to the best deals that i have been able to find for each product.

Xplora 3s

So you’re desperate to be able to contact your son or daughter, but despite this you just can’t get over feeling that he, or she, is still just too young to be having a phone of their own.

The Xplora 3s, might just be everything that you are looking for, but never knew.

Right off the bat the xplora 3s, is my favourite for loads of reasons, not least the fact that currently it is exactly what I need for my daughter and it is available from Amazon with more than £60 off it’s RRP.

Boy or girl, available in blue (pictured) or pink, waterproof (IP67) and including a camera, a pedometer, an alarm clock and a stopwatch, this good looking watch stands head and shoulders above the rest because it is also capable of making direct calls.

You do not need to worry about the little one contacting anybody that you don’t agree with as the contact list is controlled through either, or both of the parent’s phones. He/she also hasn’t got access to a headphone jack either, so no secret calls. It has the added bonus that the call quality is not compromised either as the watch sports a decent crystal clear mic and decent speaker.

The Xplora is Sim, free and so you needn’t concern yourself over increasing phone bills, as the first year is free and there is a standard charge of £5.99p.m after that. Though by then that mobile could well be a different consideration after the first year.

The watch also features an encrypted GPS tracker that updates constantly with your child’s location. If they’re in danger, they can hold the button on the watch down for a few seconds and you’ll get an SOS alert. Trust me when I say you won’t fail to notice. Your phone lights up, the volume goes full blast, and a siren sounds. You can also set safety zones – a radius of 500m around the school, for example. If your child leaves one of these zones, you’ll get an alert. 

In terms of parental controls, the functionality doesn’t end there. From the app on your own smartphone, you can set school times – say between 8.30am and 15.30pm every weekday – during which the watch will only display the time and make emergency calls

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At around 36 hrs the battery life is a little bit low but still not a massive compromise for a watch with this much functionality and control, which let’s face it might just buy you another year or maybe 2 before you are left with no option but to let them loose with a full blown phone.

Garmin Vivofit Jr 2

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If what you are looking for is to just make simple chores more fun then check out the Vivofit Jr2.

Garmin have given some thought to the connotations surrounding the issues of fitness tracking, calorie counting and body image, which are all, lets face it more adult concerns.The Vivofit gets around this by aiming itself at encouraging kids to get moving and rewarding activities rather than aiming at weight loss or any other such grown-up worries. It displays the time, the date, a step counter, an active minutes counter, and counters for chores, reward coins, and rewards.

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The console in the middle pops out, so that you can change the strap, with different designs available based around your children’s favourite Disney characters. The straps contain different story-lines on the associated Vívofit Jr app, which is where the fun really starts. Each story-line plays out in the form of a little boardgame inside the app’s “Adventure” mode.


The boardgame works by rewarding activity in real life. If the watch records 60 minutes of activity from your child, they are allowed to make one move on the board. You can only move once per day, so that should also ensure it’ll take a long time before child completes a game and demands a new strap.

The Vívofit Jr actually does the basics well. The associated app is designed for kids, so it shows overall activity and sleep without harping on about calories or exercise goals. There is also a challenge mode where the kids can compare steps with approved friends and family members.

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It’s a nice way to motivate your little one. Parents can set chores for children to tick off, and reward them with a corresponding number of digital coins for each chore they complete. Brush their teeth, pick up toys, set the table etc.

Kidizoom DX2

The V-Tech approach is understandably aimed mainly at even younger children and it’s main aim is fun.

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The Kidizoom, is capable of games, selfies and a few other tricks that will get the idea of having a useful tech piece on the wrist, but that is about as practical as it gets. Although give credit where it is due, Apple camera they are not, but this little child’s device doubles-up on something that very few adult watches even present. It has 2, yes 2 selfie cameras!

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There’s actually quite a lot for the little ones to do. they will enjoy a Pokémon Go-style AR game which uses all the watch’s capabilities to see kids capturing quirky little monsters. The wearer has to hit a certain step goal, then scan an item of the right colour to make a creature appear before tapping the touch screen to capture it. A fun – and active – diversion.

Other ‘apps’ on the watch include timed games, brain games, and activity games. None are particularly challenging but smaller kids should get a kick out of them. You can also load additional games onto the watch by downloading them through V-Tech’s website while the watch is attached to your computer.

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You would be right to consider this more of a semi-educational toy rather than a watch of any practicality. The DX2 also suffers from a flaw that I am aware V-Tech, have been highlighted for on several of their educational toys, that is a concern regarding parental controls. As is the case with much of their hardware you can limit the amount of game time, but with this watch you cannot turn off certain games or even set school time.

Even given it’s limitations, and lack of practicality, the fact that it will be quickly grown out of. For younger children price if the DX2 means that it may well still be well worth considering.

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Author: adrian holland

12 thoughts on “Special edition Kids

  1. I like the first two. The Explora really fulfills the need of being able to keep in touch with older kids as they do their activities like sports and school clubs. Can it receive texts? I think that would be helpful for quick communication.

    The second one is great for encouraging moving. Kids definitely need that.

    I’m not crazy about the last one because I’d rather have kids that young focusing on imaginative play for their development.

  2. My business partner has kids and he’s looking for different things to help his kids stay fit.   I think the explora 3s looks awesome for his soon.

    Plus it would turn fitness into a game which his son and his son’s friends would love.

    I’m going to buy it and help him out.

    Thank you so very much!

  3. Wow, so many gadgets that have come out these days geared towards kids.  I really really love the Xplora 3s.  I would really love to be able know that my son is safe, and know where he is as well.  I lost one son, so I am a bit paranoid when it comes to my other children.  I am constantly worrying about their safety.  This would give me so my ease of mind!

  4. I didn’t even know these products existed, I wish the clock was turned back a few years, I remember  when my daughter 1st went to high school, I immediately bought her a cheap mobile to use for emergencies, had these gadgets been around, particularly the XPLORA, I would have gone for that , I really like the fact that 1st year network connection is included, not sure what the price is though as compared to a cheap mobile.

    Question is, would kids today wear such a device, would they get ridiculed by their mates at school who have mobiles, it is one of those things that needs to be made trendy – and perhaps this may well be the next craze for 11 year olds!

  5. Hi there, this definitely something good I do believe that kids need to start taking care of their health from early ages as we face a obese society where sugar rules everyone. And if we have the chance to implement this with the adventurous programs that’s cool, promote some physical activity and can be used with the parents or family. On a safety level I do think parents should be careful when choosing the model and features comes with the watches. But overall I love the ideas as I own a fit-bit myself. 

  6. Nice selection of smart watches! I’m unsure about tracking kids, because I feel that’s a little overboard. I definitely don’t want kids to be worrying about calories or body image. So I like the one that rewards for chores and activities.

    Still unsure I want a smart watch for them yet, but I’m glad you covered them. I never even thought of using a smart watch instead of a phone, which I don’t believe kids should have until at least teenage years. Thanks for your input!

  7. Hello and thank you for this awesome article on wearable devices for kids. These technological advances are amazing for a parent with safety concerns for their child. I like that there are safety controls that connect with the contacts of the parent’s phone. This is much better than the technology when I was a kid, and I could have used a watch that could keep me entertained in addition to my game boy.

    It looks like the extra features of the Explora S make it a very valuable device for a parent. It allows them to keep in communication with the child and provide ways for the child to interact and stay busy, which means they are less likely to get into trouble. If you combine that with some of the smart backpacks that are coming out now, you can add anti-theft measures in addition for their belongings. 

    It looks like you have done research on the price as well and done some comparisons to the apple watch and fitbit. Both of those are pretty pricy and I’m not sure they are worth it for me to buy it just yet. There are great health apps that we can just download to our smartphone. Wearable bluetooth devices are the only thing that allow us to really break free from needing to use our phone all the time. These breakthrough advances make this kind of product well worth the price. Thank you for providing this review of the features and I look forward to the next one. 

  8. its a nice display. 

    Smart watches are beginning to be used for tracking and security reasons. Your write up is good, but the pictures are way too big. You could reduce the size so it doesn’t accommodate the screen so much. An also, you need to create more content.

    I love the Xplora 3s. No need for phone bills and other expenses. I think i will get that for my kids

  9. We have at the moment 1 fit bit from Garmin for our eldest boy.  He loves it, it connects to an app on the phone and it really makes him do exercise and monitor his progress during the days.  The Xplorer looks great, this is exactly what I want in a tracking watch for my kids.  Only thing is it is a little expensive.

    I do really like the fit bit jnr watches for the kids, they are cheap, fun but don’t have the tracking abilities.

    Thanks for this post I now know some more cool products I need.

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