By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Wearable tech devices, it seems that every time you turn around they’re getting smaller, and now many new devices are meant for kids. Like the grown-up gadgets, some are designed to turn fitness into fun. But as 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan finds, others are more focused on safety.
Six-year-old Marc Cohen entertains himself with his dad’s smartwatch all the time, so when his father Adam saw the Kidizoom, a child-sized version of the gadget, he got one for Marc. Adam Cohen says, “It’s just modeled after an adult smartwatch, but made for kids with kids apps and games. And it’s pretty new, pretty fun.”
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,” says CNET’s Scott Stein.
Others devices on the market and in development, including Filip, Kizon, and Tinitell are aimed at safety and include GPS technology. According to Stein, “Some of them make calls. Some of them send more S.O.S. messages. Some of them are more about simply GPS tracking.”
So how can focusing on every footstep and following every movement be beneficial? Louis Kraus is a Child Psychiatrist. He says, “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.” He adds, “To be able to have a monitoring device so that you can make sure that they’re safe, that’s a great use for something like this.”
While it’s hard to track the popularity of these devices right now since they’re so new, in fact some are just hitting the market, you can find out more information on the products by clicking the links below:
KIDIZOOM from Vtech
The LeapBand tracks activity and provides physical challenges.
The Sqord connect you to a social platform that inspires, tracks, and rewards your everyday physical activity in your own local, family, and online communities. When you sync your PowerPod and log in, you’ll get points for your activity, your level will go up, you’ll get Sqoins to spend on cool virtual items, and you’ll enjoy bragging rights in the visual, interactive social network built.
FiLIP is a smart locator and phone. FiLIP is a cell phone reimagined for kids as a wearable device. FiLIP can locate your kids wherever they are. To ensure complete accuracy FiLIP uses more than just GPS – it utilizes a blend of assisted GPS, GSM cell tower location, and Wi-Fi hotspot triangulation. FiLIP has been designed with an Intelligent Emergency procedure. When activated, the emergency button triggers an automatic location beacon, ambient sound recording, and calls each of the five contacts until one is reached.
The KizON is not yet available in the US. It is expected to be released in the US in the third quarter of 2014. Utilizing GPS and Wi-Fi, KizON provides real-time location information allowing parents to track their children’s whereabouts on a smartphone or tablet.
Tinitell is a wearable mobile phone for children with a built-in GPS. The device makes calls at the push of one button, or when a user says the name of the contact.