How to Pick the Best Smartwatch (or Dumb Phone) for Your Kid

How to Pick the Best Smartwatch (or Dumb Phone) for Your Kid

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We had hoped to recommend specific flip-phone models for kids, but as soon as we settled on basic phones that we liked specifically because they lacked access to potentially addictive games and social media sites, those models’ features changed. We also realized that many families want to limit their search to phones available on the carrier they already use. We include some suggestions below, but at least for now, we are not making specific flip-phone picks.

Our pick

Verizon GizmoWatch 2

Verizon GizmoWatch 2

The best smartwatch for kids

This smartwatch allows for voice calls and texts—and lets you track your child’s location.

Buying Options

$100 from Verizon

Verizon’s GizmoWatch 2 allows your child to make and receive voice calls with up to 10 designated numbers. Through an app on your own smartphone, you can also track your kid’s location and send them text messages. The child can respond with emojis, preset texts such as “I want to go home,” or a voice message. And because the GizmoWatch 2 is sold in Verizon stores, you can walk right out with a watch, as well as get customer support if needed, which isn’t the case for our runner-up, the TickTalk 3.

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Runner-up

TickTalk 3

TickTalk 3

A similar watch with more capabilities

The TickTalk 3 does everything the GizmoWatch 2 does, and it allows a kid to call more people and make video calls. But we found the screen to be less responsive.

Buying Options

$170 from Amazon

Like the Verizon GizmoWatch 2, the TickTalk 3 is a kid-specific smartwatch that pairs with an app on a parent’s smartphone so that the adult can call, send texts, and track a child’s whereabouts. Kids can respond with a phone or video call, send one of several preset texts, or use a dialpad on the watch to make calls to anyone, though parents can disable that feature. But the TickTalk 3 is available only online and not sold in stores or through any wireless carriers, which means you have to set it up and connect it to a cellular network on your own.

Also great

Relay

Relay

A simpler, screen-free option

Resembling a tiny wireless speaker, the Relay works like an ultra-reliable walkie-talkie that also tracks your child’s whereabouts. It’s available in several colors.

Buying Options

$50* from Relay Go
$40 from Target

*At the time of publishing, the price was $40.

The pocket-sized Relay device runs on Relay’s proprietary 4G LTE network, which allows it to incorporate GPS tracking and alert you if your child wanders away from a designated spot. Only people with another Relay or a paired app (available through iTunes and Google Play and linked to the device’s account) can communicate with it. To use the Relay device, a kid holds down a button to chat on your own designated line, walkie-talkie style. A small button on the side switches the device from one frequency to another and also cycles through a music channel, a translation channel, and a daily joke channel.

Everything we recommend

Our pick

Verizon GizmoWatch 2

Verizon GizmoWatch 2

The best smartwatch for kids

This smartwatch allows for voice calls and texts—and lets you track your child’s location.

Buying Options

$100 from Verizon

Runner-up

TickTalk 3

TickTalk 3

A similar watch with more capabilities

The TickTalk 3 does everything the GizmoWatch 2 does, and it allows a kid to call more people and make video calls. But we found the screen to be less responsive.

Buying Options

$170 from Amazon

Also great

Relay

Relay

A simpler, screen-free option

Resembling a tiny wireless speaker, the Relay works like an ultra-reliable walkie-talkie that also tracks your child’s whereabouts. It’s available in several colors.

Buying Options

$50* from Relay Go
$40 from Target

*At the time of publishing, the price was $40.

Source: NY Times – Wirecutter
Keyword: How to Pick the Best Smartwatch (or Dumb Phone) for Your Kid

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