With the increasing presence of technology in our schools, it is no surprise the issue of smart watches is starting to arise.
They are the latest technology trend and as they begin to appear on the wrists of your child’s classmates, they may start to ask for one too. Now there are even smart watches on the market that are specifically made for children aged 6-16 years.
As a parent who wants the best for their child, it can be hard to know whether to encourage their use of technology or not.
Here are some things to consider if you are thinking about getting your child a smart watch to wear at school:
- They can be used as a tool for children with medical issues or learning disabilities. Some parents use smart watches to remind children to take medication at a certain time, if they need to change locations or have an appointment.
- Devices such as Fitbit and other activity trackers can be great for encouraging kids to stay active. Many of these now come with a smart watch interface.
- Inbuilt GPS functionality allows you to track location, which is great peace of mind for parents if your child travels to and from school alone.
- There are many progressive education specialists who promote the benefits of smart watches in the classroom as an educational tool.
- They are expensive and can be easily broken or stolen.
- They can be a distraction in the classroom if it beeps or rings.
- There are concerns smart watches could be used for cheating on exams.
- It is another screen for your child to potentially become fixated with and distracted by, particularly with inbuilt games and apps.
- Some feature inbuilt cameras which can raise privacy concerns.
- It is unlikely schools in Australia will adopt smart watch technology for educational purposes anytime in the near future.
While it is up to individual parents whether smart watches are suitable for children, before you let your child wear a smart watch to school, check the school’s policy. Many schools, particularly at primary level, have a phone/device ban in place (or phones to be handed in to the office) and smart watches may be seen as an extension of this.