With the rapid progression of technology and the widespread adoption of smart devices, the debate over whether children should own such devices has become a hot topic among parents. A focal point for this great debate is Apple Watch. As the Apple Watch becomes increasingly popular among all age groups, it begs the question: Is it suitable for children? Here, we dive into the pros and cons to help parents make an informed decision.
Pros of Allowing a Child to Have an Apple Watch:
- Educational Benefits: The Apple Watch boasts a plethora of educational apps that can complement a child's academic journey. From interactive learning games to time-management tools, the potential for educational growth is undeniable.
- Safety: For concerned parents, the Apple Watch can be a safety net. The device allows for quick communication between parent and child and even has a tracking feature, ensuring children's safety when they are away from home. You can even set up an Apple Watch for your child if they aren’t yet using an iPhone. Set up their Apple Watch with SchoolTime enabled.
For more information about tracking your child’s location via their Apple Watch read more at the Family Orbit blog.
Health Monitoring: With childhood obesity on the rise, the Apple Watch can serve as a fun way to encourage physical activity. The activity tracker can motivate children to move more, fostering healthy habits from a young age.
Read more on Wired to learn how to set up your child’s new Apple Watch
- Independence and Responsibility: Owning a piece of technology can teach children about responsibility. Caring for the watch, ensuring its safekeeping, and managing its usage can instill valuable lessons. According to this recent New York Times article more and more parents are seeing value in allowing their children to wear and use Apple Watch.
Cons of Allowing a Child to Have an Apple Watch:
- Distraction from Core Activities: Just as with any gadget, the Apple Watch poses a risk of becoming a significant distraction. Whether it's playing games, messaging friends, or just fiddling with its features, it could detract from homework, physical play, or face-to-face interactions.
- Exposure to Inappropriate Content: Though parental controls can limit access, there's always a lurking risk of children encountering unsuitable content or being exposed to potential cyber threats. There are even workarounds that tech savvy children can use to watch YouTube content on Apple Watch. While there isn't an official YouTube app, there's a third-party solution named WatchTube that lets users view YouTube content. This app is loaded with features, allowing users to search, like, and subscribe to videos. Additionally, it offers video suggestions and houses a comprehensive library showcasing users' watch history, likes, and subscribed channels
- Loss or Damage: Children, with their playful nature, might accidentally damage or misplace the watch, leading to potential expenses for repairs or replacements. AppleCare is always a good idea to add a layer of insurance for your tech purchases but especially for children.
- Dependency: Starting with tech devices early on can foster an over-reliance on technology, potentially limiting a child's ability to function without it. An awareness of how technology dependence can quickly get out of hand is crucial for us as adults and even more so as we guide our children into adulthood.
This resource is a VERY in depth look at technological dependence with excessive use.
Factors for Parents to Consider:
Before making the decision, it's essential to consider the child's age and maturity. Understand the primary purpose behind the purchase – is it for safety, educational purposes, or merely a fun gadget? Setting clear boundaries and usage rules from the get-go is also crucial. As with all things parenting people have strong opinions one way or the other. Talk to your friends who have children slightly older than yours and don’t be afraid to ask them what they wish they had done differently when it comes to technology decisions with their children.
Every family is different, and what works for one might not work for another. It's essential to weigh the pros and cons based on individual values, circumstances, and the child's needs. Whatever the decision, it's always best to ensure it's made with the child's best interest in mind.