Best Smartwatches For Kids 2022

Getting ready to make the leap to purchase a smartwatch for your child? If so, you probably didn’t come to the decision easily as most of us are concerned about the level of screen consumption by our kids. The best smartwatches for kids display time, of course, but also offer perks for parents like emergency calling and GPS tracking to ease our anxious minds. Of course, plenty of them also come with games, selfie modes, music and texting. There are also time management options in some smartwatches to help hone those skills in otherwise distracted kids and activity tracking to encourage movement.

There are hundreds of smartwatches out there, so to help you discover which will pair best with your child, we did the research and spoke with the screen and safety experts to find the best kids smartwatch. I’m also a consumer technology reporter, educator and author who has tested the latest watches, smartphones, tablets and more, for the last three decades, as well as a doting uncle.

As you’re about to discover, there are a handful of companies that offer smartwatches designed specifically for kids. Each offers a different collection of features. Continue reading to decide what functionality you need for your child. Also, be sure to select a watch that’s the most age appropriate for your kid. We’ve included target ages to help.

“There are potential dangers, even with a simple smartwatch, that parents must explain to children,” says Dr. Catherine Pearlman, a licensed clinical social worker, founder of The Family Coach and author of First Phone: A Child’s Guide to Digital Responsibility, Safety and Etiquette. “Scammers and predators are sophisticated and excellent at engaging vulnerable people. Children need to learn how to apply ‘stranger danger’ to the cyber environment and how to protect personal information. And, there is etiquette to learn so kids are not on their smartwatches when they should be focusing on school or visiting with a friend during a play date. Parents should be invested in helping children through these challenges.”

I’ve distilled it down to six top picks. Read through the product specifications and age ratings, to find the right one. Here are the best smartwatches for kids.

Best Smartwatch For Kids Overall

Enjoy Video Calling And Messaging With Pre-Selected Contacts

Editor’s Pick

Target age: 6 to 12 | Battery life: Up to 62 hours | Waterproof rating: IP67 | Screen size: 1.54 inches | Cellular connectivity: Yes | Optional apps: No | Parental controls: Yes

Out of all the smartwatches and activity trackers featured within our article, the TickTalk 4 offers the most impressive collection of features that’ll appeal to both kids and their parents. For starters, it has two built-in cameras and connects to either the AT&T or T-Mobile cellular network, so it can be used for video calling, as well as voice calling and text messaging. It also has emergency and SOS features, plus it can stream music via iHeartRadio Family Access. Access to social media, games and the ability to freely surf the web, for example, are blocked.

Thanks to 20+ parental controls, kids can only have access to the features an adult grants them via their smartphone. Who the wearer can contact is limited to a pre-approved list of contacts. It’s also possible to track the watch in real-time and see a history of where a child has been and what routes they followed.

Best Smartwatch For Kids With Activity Tracking

A Fitbit Activity Tracker That’s Designed Just For Kids

Target age: 6 to 12 | Battery life: Up to 8 days | Operating system: FitBit | Waterproof rating: 50 meters | Cellular connectivity: No | Optional apps: No | Parental controls: Yes

This is primarily an activity tracker, but of course, it is also a watch with the time. Unlike a fitness tracker for adults, an activity tracker for a young person does not keep track of calories burned, heart rate and what it’ll take to lose weight, for example. Instead, this device is designed to motivate the person wearing it to stay active throughout each day by encouraging them to periodically move and stretch. The wearer is presented with daily activity challenges. The watch also offers bedtime reminders, a variety of animated watch faces and sleep tracking. If your child is a fan of the Minions, there’s a yellow colored Minions themed edition available.

Honorable Mention: A Fitness Tracker With A Marvel Theme

Target age: 5 to 10 | Battery life: Up to 1 year | Operating system: Proprietary | Waterproof rating: 5 ATM | Case size: 0.56 x 0.56 inches | Cellular connectivity: No | Optional apps: No | Parental controls: Yes

Available with an integrated Star Wars, Disney princess, Marvel theme or non-character-based theme, the Vívofit Jr. 3 from Garmin is a cross between a smartwatch and activity tracker. It offers a full-color display, is waterproof and has a built-in clock, alarm clock, timer and stopwatch. It also has a step tracker and measures distance traveled, offers reminders to do chores, has a task timer and to-do list manager. Instead of a rechargeable battery, this device uses a replaceable watch battery that’ll last up to one year. Built into the watch is an ICE widget that stores a child’s name and contact information in case of emergency. However, it does not have communication features in the same way that a smartwatch does.

Best Kids Smartwatch For Communications

A Kid-Oriented Smartwatch With A Focus On Communications

Target age: 6 to 12 | Battery life: Up to 4 days | Operating system: Proprietary | Waterproof rating, IP67 | Case size: 13.5 millimeters | Cellular connectivity: Yes | Optional apps: No | Parental controls: Yes

Available only for Verizon cellular service customers, this smartwatch is primarily a communications and tracking tool that can be used for voice calls and text messaging. A parent can pre-program up to 10 trusted contacts for the wearer to communicate with and can use the watch’s GPS tracker to see the general location of their child via any iPhone or Android-based smartwatch. Kids can record messages to send or use one of the preset messages, as well as place calls. There are some added features, including step counting, an option to schedule Quiet Mode and to-do list functionality.

Best Kids Smartwatch For Security

Keep Tabs On Your Child Remotely Using This Smartwatch

Target age: 5 to 10 | Battery life: One day | Operating system: Android | Waterproof rating: IP68 | Case size: 1.85 x 1.65 x 0.57 inches | Cellular connectivity: Yes | Optional apps: No | Parental controls: Yes

Available exclusively to T-Mobile cellular service customers, this smartwatch for kids allows voice calling and texting to pre-approved contacts. It also offers real-time location tracking, virtual boundary alerts, a 9-1-1 button and a to-do list manager. The original on-screen characters are designed to keep a child motivated and entertained with simple games and activities. However, this is primarily a communications tool to help parents keep remote tabs on their child. Offers a built in camera for taking and sharing pictures, but does not support video calling. If a child is ever lost or in danger, the touch of a button on the watch will call 9-1-1.

Best Kids Smartwatch For Calling And Tracking

Fun, Stylish Video Calling And Text Messaging

Target age: 5 to 12 | Battery life: Up to 32 hours | Operating system: Proprietary | Waterproof rating: IP67 | Case size: 1.77 x 1.85 x 0.64 inches | Cellular connectivity: Yes | Optional apps: No | Parental controls: Yes

This smartwatch is capable of video calling, voice calling and text messaging—but only with pre-approved contacts. It also allows for real-time tracking by parents. The watch relies on cellular service, which will cost around $18 per month for unlimited talk, text and data (for video calling). It can be set up to be inactive during school and sleep hours and always prevents the wearer from accessing the Internet or social media. There is, however, a built in SOS button that always works. A parent will receive an immediate notification if the child removes the watch from their wrist. As an activity tracker, the watch offers a step counter and heart rate monitor.

Best Smartwatch For Older Kids And Teens

Apple Offers A Budget-Friendly Smartwatch That’s Great For Teens With An iPhone

Best Features

Target age: Ages 12 and up | Battery life: Up to 18 hours | Operating system: Apple WatchOS | Waterproof rating: IPX7 | Case size: 40 or 44 millimeters | Cellular connectivity: Optional | Optional apps: Yes | Parental controls: Yes

The Apple Watch SE comes in a GPS only or more costly GPS + Cellular version. The GPS only version requires that the device be paired and kept in close proximity to an iPhone to provide all of its communications, productivity, health/fitness and entertainment-oriented functionality. However, the GPS + Cellular version requires an iPhone to set up the watch, but it can then work autonomously throughout the day to make and receive calls or text messages, for example. For this version, a cellular service plan (typically around $10 per month) is required.

Unless a parent manually activates the optional parental controls, this watch offers unlimited access to voice calling, text messaging, music streaming, social media services and the Internet. It can also be used with ApplePay and for GPS navigation, for example. It comes with a handful of pre-installed apps, but includes access to the Apple Watch App Store. Thousands of optional apps and customizable watch faces are available.

Frequently Asked Questions On The Best Smartwatches For Kids

As you’re perusing through the specs, you might have some questions that have come up. We’ll try to answer some of them here.

Does A Child Really Need A Smartwatch?

No, of course not. But these devices do offer a way for busy parents to keep in touch with their kids, and it can also be a nice in-between step for kids begging for a smartphone.

“Need is relative,” adds Pearlman. “Often children say they ‘need’ a smartwatch, but they really don’t. However, there are some valid reasons that parents might want to purchase a smartwatch for a child.”

For the young person wearing the watch, they can learn basic skills, like time management and how to manage chores that need to be done by a certain time. They can also be encouraged to be more active.

“Smartwatches allow tweens some independence while still giving parents peace of mind,” says Pearlman. “Sometimes parents want to be able to reach children but they don’t really want to give all the capabilities of a smartphone. The watch can be a good first step. Other reasons parents might consider a smartwatch is for a child who could benefit from a fitness tracker, or when a child wants to begin to text a small number of people. Lastly, kids may need a smartwatch when parents are divorced to help the noncustodial parent stay in contact with the child.”

What Types Of Parental Controls Are Available On Kids Smartwatches?

The best smartwatches for kids offer a comprehensive collection of parental controls that allow the adult to lock or unlock specific features built into the watch and then set specific limits about how and when the watch can be used.

These tools are managed using a proprietary smartphone app that the parent loads onto their smartphone. This same app then allows the parent to track a child’s location or participate in voice calls, video calls or text messages exchanges with the young person wearing the watch. Keep in mind, the types of parental controls and the limits that can be set vary greatly between products.

“Parents should consider the functionality of various watches,” says Pearlman. “Is the parent looking for GPS to track a child on a walk home from school? Do they want texting to be enabled? Is it important to have games or to have the ability to limit access to the Internet? There are various safety options on devices that may be of interest to parents, such as duplicate texting or the ability to contact 911.”

Does My Child Need A Smartphone To Use A Smartwatch?

With the exception of full-featured smartwatches that do not have their own cellular connectivity, like some versions of the Apple Watch SE, your child will not need their own smartphone to fully utilize a child-oriented smartwatch. However, the device will need to be paired with a parent’s smartphone to set up the watch, activate the parental controls and then track or communicate with the watch, depending on the functionality that’s offered.

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