It’s stressful being a parent so why not make the most use of technology to make your life a little bit easier? We take a close look at GPS watches to see if they can help keep track of your little ones.
In our popular “11-Best” blog post series, we took a close look at the best kids GPS watches. But if you’re starting at the beginning with these devices then you could do with a bit more background information.
In today’s article, we explain what makes these watches a decent choice for location tracking.
Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we may make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
How a GPS Watch Can Benefit Your Family
1. Use it as a GSM Wrist Phone
Now, some smartwatches come with full SIM card support. The most obvious and popular example of this would be the Apple watch but there are plenty of cheaper alternatives.
This means voice calls can be made and text messages sent. It’s a lot less obtrusive way of staying in contact with someone. In fact, some even allow video messaging, which is the ultimate way to keep track of a young son or daughter.
Worried that your little monster won’t answer your calls? No problem! Some watches even feature an auto-answer function that can be set after a specific time.
If it’s a direct choice between using a phone and using a watch then the watch has so much more going for it. For starters, it’s actually attached to the person and can’t be misplaced or fall out of a pocket.
You don’t need to send your child out with a phone in their pocket anymore and there’s less chance of that big screen smashing.
2. Create a Radius of Safety
Geo-fencing is the term given to creating an invisible zone using a digital device. Upon a person exiting this predetermined area, an alert will be sent to whoever created it.
This means you can remotely monitor whether your kid is still inside the yard or somewhere they shouldn’t be by defining a safe zone through a GPS watch.
So, whenever your child goes out of the predefined radius, an instant notification will be sent to the parent’s phone.
You could argue that it breaches trust and it might not go down too well with your child but it’s a really useful feature that offers peace of mind to stressed parents.
3. Get Real-Time Location Information
I’m sure all parents have experienced that momentary feeling of complete anxiety when they turn around and their child is not where they thought they were. My Mom still tells a story of me disappearing in a supermarket as a 3-year-old only to be found by the staff gorging myself on grapes in the fruit section. It was a funny ending to a panic-filled 10 minutes of frantic searching.
While a GPS device can’t stop these moments from happening, it can certainly relieve the stress slightly. By wearing a watch of this type, real-time location information is available at the touch of a few buttons. The location of the watch wearer is available to see using an app on a parent’s phone.
Many of the watches utilize more than one method of location tracking (e.g: GPS, Wifi and LBS) to update the map with the most accurate location information possible. That means locations are still able to be identified in places where the phone signal is bad.
4. Track and Record Activities
A tracking device that can count runs, steps, laps and time could be the perfect gift to encourage them to be more active.
Some like the Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 even encourage friendly competition between wearers to make them do more exercise. You did how many steps today? Oh, I can beat that!
The fact is, our kids don’t get outside enough and are too happy staying indoors playing video games. A watch like this could be just the inspiration they need!
5. Take Snaps
How about a camera right on the wrist that can take snaps?
It sounds pretty futuristic and almost like something you would only see in a science fiction movie, but it’s a modern-day reality.
A GPS watch including a basic camera can give you this option. Granted, the cameras are never really of that high quality (certainly when compared to a smartphone), but they are good enough to keep most children very happy!
6. Emergency SOS Alert
It is natural that a child will get into problems every now and then, and require their parents to come to the rescue like a superhero.
A GPS device will not directly save a child from dangers but instead, it will notify the parents that their child is in a worrying situation through the SOS feature.
The devices that support SOS can send quick alerts to connected users in just one click or button press. Should a child feel threatened or worried in any way then they can just press the button and have an SOS call or message sent to their parents’ phones immediately.
7. Entertainment with Parental Controls
Ask most kids and there’s nothing more fun or important than playing games. In my opinion, this is ok as long as playtime is limited and it’s not at the sacrifice of exercise or schoolwork.
Some GPS watches actually support basic games that can be played right on the wrist.
However, you needn’t worry that your child will be glued to the games all-day. Access to the games can be controlled remotely by the parent. You can even reward them with game access once they’ve done a certain amount of exercise in a day. Pretty neat huh?
Which GPS Watches Provide These Features?
We’ve got a comprehensive guide to these watches that we’ve linked in the opening paragraph. If you want to see which devices we recommended then you can check that out.
It’s best to stick with the big brands as they provide better quality features and easier user interfaces to use. However, bargains can be found too. Some of the cheaper watches offer some great features at a relatively low cost. This means you don’t need to worry about your child breaking it!
Can You Seriously Trust a Device Like This?
These devices offer an extra helping hand to parents that can’t help but stress and worry about their kids.
They’re designed to be unobtrusive and seamless in their operation. The user won’t really notice any of the tracking features employed. That’s the big worry for me as they do highlight a breach of trust which might not go down too well.
Features like the geo-fencing are really clever and can be employed without the user even knowing (again a bit of a trust issue). Simply highlight an area on a map that you’ve designated as being the “play-zone” and then receive updates should anyone stray outside this area.
That’s a really useful feature for any parent that has kids that like to explore a bit too much.
Do you have experience with a device like this? We’d love to know what you think down in the comments section below!