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The smartwatch as an entry into the digital world?

2 minutes reading time
6-17 years
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Is a smartwatch on your child’s birthday or Christmas wish list? Perhaps the wish has already come true, because in more and more families there are the smart wristwatches. The range of smartwatches is growing, and so is their range of functions.

What is a smartwatch?

It looks like a digital wristwatch, but it has a lot more to offer. The watch is actually a small computer that connects to your smartphone. But there are also smartwatches that work without a smartphone. You can read text messages on it without having to rummage for your smartphone in your pocket first. You can use it to navigate to the nearest movie theater, count your steps with the watch, and much more. In addition, the watch has a speaker and a microphone, so you can also make calls via the wrist without a smartphone.

For children, there are special smartwatches with a limited range of functions (sending and receiving text messages, GPS tracking, learning games, photo function, etc.) – with or without a connection to the Internet (via an integrated SIM card). Manufacturers promote these watches as an introduction to digital life and a good means of communication between parent and child.

What is the appeal of the smartwatch?

Especially for younger children, they can be a practical alternative to the smartphone. The smart watches are usually easy to use and offer the most important functions. For children, the entertainment factor is paramount: they can play with the watch or chat with friends (as long as it has a SIM card and the parents have released the friends’ phone numbers for it in advance).

Not to be disregarded, however, is the possible control by parents. Thanks to the tracking function, mom and dad know where their child is, it can be reached at any time, and they can control which people the child communicates with. Surfing the Internet is not possible with all children’s smartwatches, since they do not necessarily have an Internet connection. This gives parents the security that their child cannot come across any questionable content.

What should you look for in smartwatches?

On the one hand, the watches can provide a good introduction to the world of digital devices, as they do not necessarily need to have a connection to the Internet, but bring many attractive features for children, such as games and camera. Your child learns how to use his or her own device without it having to be an expensive smartphone.

On the other hand, there are functions that invade the child’s privacy. The GPS tracking function seems to make sense at first glance. Because that way you know where your child is at all times. But you should realize that your child also has a right to free development – albeit within a protected framework. Increasingly moving freely and having your own experiences as you grow older is important for your child. Activating the tracking function can be an infringement of your child’s freedom and lead to a breach of trust. Think back to your own childhood and give your child confidence.

Should you decide to purchase a children’s smartwatch together, get to know the watch together with your child and make the settings together. The control functions should only be activated in emergencies and with your child’s knowledge. Also make sure to read the privacy policy, the terms and conditions and the terms of use! Smartwatches are increasingly seen as data predators. Hackers may be able to easily gain access to the watches.

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