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A Smartwatch for little kids? I was skeptical. For years, I've been battling screen time like I've been told good moms do but for some reason—the size of the screen? The fact that it would be reviewed by my much neglected third child?—I thought, "Why not?"
I unpacked the V-Tech Kidizoom Smartwatch, strapped it on my 6-year-old son Earl's wrist and told myself that such a small screen really didn't count toward a future ADHD diagnosis.
"It's so tiny," I thought. "He'll get bored.
He's not bored.
And why would he be? This watch does everything. There are games, a clock for learning to tell time, an alarm on the off-chance Earl would ever decide to sleep in. And a camera—with video and editing features. I have no idea how (or whether it's possible) to get them off the camera and stored somewhere permanently, but here's the great thing about tech and kids: tech is made to be easy and kids figure everything out anyway.
Features I Love
We don't have to buy batteries! The watch is rechargeable, which Earl can do himself. The camera is also a fun glimpse into what he finds interesting in the world. (I'm not super crazy that he can surreptitiously video me nagging him to brush his teeth and then, you know, play it back and laugh.)
Features That Could Be Improved
The sounds it makes are annoying, and it's set at slightly too loud. Maybe there's a volume control I don't know about? Again, Earl's my third so my interest in trouble-shooting toy problems is at an unprecedented low. I'd rather just put up with the noise.
Features I Hate
It was over packaged, it's rather ugly and video eats up the memory (a common tech issue, but still). Also, it's a screen! He's 6! Tech creep keeps getting creepier and, just because he's not on an iPad or in front of the TV doesn't mean he's not suffering from whatever it is that unfettered screen access does to kids.
Would I Buy This Toy For a Friend's Child?
Because I'm upstanding and moral and don't hate my friends, no, no I would not buy this for a friend's kid. Screens are a parents' call to make (sorry, grandparents!), so I'd leave it up to them. Anyway, my mantra when gift-shopping is "don't get the toys that make the noise." I'm no hypocrite, even if the kid is my friend's third child.