Wearable gadgets for kids hitting the market

Author: Katie Cribbs
Published: Updated:

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Wearable technology is shrinking. Many new devices are meant for kids. Just like the grown-up gadgets, some are designed to turn fitness into fun while others are more focused on safety.

Six-year-old Marc Cohen entertains himself with his dad’s smart watch all the time, so when Adam saw the Kidizoom, a child -sized version of the gadget, he got one for Marc.

“It’s just modeled after an adult smart watch, but made for kids with kids apps and games. and it’s pretty new, pretty fun,” said Adam Cohen of dadarocks.com

C-NET’s Scott Stein explains wearable tech for kids goes beyond entertainment. Some options on the market like the Leapband and Sqord are designed to encourage activity.

“Doing the stuff that Fitbit and other activity trackers like the Nike Fuelband were doing for adults. But also having them work in larger school settings to try to create some sort of group initiative,” said Stein.

Others on the market and in development, including Filip, Kizon, and Tinitell, are aimed at safety with GPS technology to locate little ones.

“Some of them make calls. Some of them send more SOS messages. Some of them are more about simply GPS tracking,” explained Stein.

Child psychiatrist Louis Kraus says activity trackers can be beneficial.

“A lot of kids really have trouble comprehending what a reasonable amount of exercise is. Having a device like this could help them meet those goals,” said Dr. Louis Kraus, a professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

But, Dr. Kraus has concerns about location tracking when it comes to older kids.

“The reality is that children also need private time. Parents need to balance keeping their children safe, but also allowing them to grow and develop,” said Dr. Kraus.

There are privacy issues to ponder. Federal regulations limit data collection on children under 13 without parental consent but Stein still urges caution.

“We’re obviously trusting a tremendous amount of information in this day and age to various services, whatever we’re using. This is going to be one more part of that, how secure it is remains to be seen,” he said.

Stein also says it’s hard to track the popularity of these devices right now since they’re so new. Some are just hitting the market and others are still in development.

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