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GPS watches help parents feel at ease when letting their children play freely

Parents of the younger set who feel their children aren’t mature enough yet for a cell phone but still want to keep tabs on their kids may wish to consider a GPS watch.

Modern families are busier than ever with work, school and extracurricular activities. Schedules often pull family members in different directions throughout the day, and a wearable tracking device enables parents to monitor their children when they aren’t together. Whether your kids are at the park, playing in the neighborhood or at dance or baseball practice, a GPS watch allows you to keep track of your child in real time. GPS watches are also great for family outings with large crowds where there is the potential of getting lost, like amusement parks.

GPS watches, geared mostly toward toddlers, preschoolers and children in elementary school, come with a variety of features and can be worn for entertainment, style and as a GPS tracker, depending on one’s needs. Kids may feel they look cool to their peers and have some sense of control and independence when it comes to their whereabouts while moms and dads feel safe and comfortable knowing where their children are without feeling intrusive.

Such devices “are designed to give kids and parents a way to communicate,” shared Karim Watson, a solutions specialist with Verizon Wireless in Central Park. “They are a way for parents to get in touch with children who don’t have cell phones. A lot of parents don’t want young children to have a smartphone, so this is another option.”

One of the more popular sellers at Verizon Wireless is the LG GizmoPal 2. Key features include real-time location tracking, two-way calling with up to four contacts, a dedicated call button, caller alert with preset identifiers like “Mom” and “Dad” so kids know their parents are calling, an auto-answer function, a voice clock that calls out the time and other fun sounds for kids. The GizmoPal 2 retails for $80 at Verizon as well as Best Buy. It is one of the top-rated GPS watches, according to the website www.smartwatches.org. Another highly recommended GPS watch for kids is the hereO, which looks like a normal watch but can be tracked by GPS for up to 72 hours. It retails at $199.

Other watches also offer a text message option for families. While parents may feel safer having their child wear a GPS watch and knowing where their kids are at all times, it is possible children can remove the device. Some watches come with a tamper alert to let you know if your child (or anyone else) tries to remove it. Some watches have a limited tracking range; if your budget permits, it is recommended that you ensure the GPS tracking on the watch is connected to your mobile network, so that your child can be traced anywhere. Watches like the GizmoPal 2 can be programmed with set boundaries, and will alert parents if children go anywhere outside those areas.

What it boils down to is parents feeling safe and secure when their children aren’t with them. Wearing a tracking device “lets parents know where their kids are and aren’t supposed to be,” said Watson.

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