The electronic ‘connected’ gift you can buy your kids that’s actually for you

To the kids, it looks like a pretty cool watch, but to us it meant constant peace of mind.

I remember my first mobile phone. It was a Nokia 1600, it was the size of a brick, and weighed too much to be carried around in my pocket.

I think I can really appreciate my compact iPhone which works really fast without having to pull out a little antenna or stand outside with one arm up in the air.

Kids these days honestly don’t get it. My kids have all been nagging for their own iPhones since they could swipe to open mine.

“Muuummmmm, I’ve got enough money to buy my own iPhone,” my middle child, Charlie has said on several occasions, but there have been a few things stopping us from even considering it.

Samuel is 10 years old and Charlie is just eight. They have had iPods to play games and music on for a few years now and I’m just not ready for the ongoing expense of a mobile contract or easy access to social media and all the horrible things that come along with it.

iStaySafe has released a clever new device

When iStaySafe approached us to give the new TicTocTrack watch a test run, I put my hand up faster than I did when I had an old Motorola flip phone and had to call my friend from the black spot in my bedroom. True story.

The TicTocTrack watch is a GPS-enabled tracking device for kids. They can call or message the approved numbers pre-set in the watch and parents can contact them and always know where they are. Each watch is fitted with its own SIM card and has its own mobile phone number.

I figured this would be a great way for my kids to be contactable without setting them up with a traditional mobile phone.

The stand-out feature of the TicTocTrack for me is the ability to program up to six numbers. This allows the watch to make and receive calls from ONLY the numbers we approve. I set ours up with my mobile number and my husband’s, which is all that we need.

Stay connected but with limits

The watch itself came in really handy for me on a few occasions when I was stuck on a train on my way home from work. My commute from work to their school is so tight that I only have a three-minute buffer which allows me to run to the school from the train station. This also means I live in fear that my train will be delayed and my kids will be wondering where I am.

There are teachers in the playground for 15 minutes, so unless I’m going to be any later than that, I’m usually OK. But that doesn’t keep the mum guilt at bay. I sit on my delayed train picturing the boys wandering around aimlessly looking for me. Of course, reality is always different and they often don’t even realise I’m late, but being able to send them a quick message, or call them and hear their voices even, is a HUGE bonus for us.

It looks just like an ordinary watch

My kids aren’t allowed to have mobile devices at school, but this one looks like just another ordinary watch. It’s actually pretty cool, and even my rule-following eldest child was happy to play along and see if anyone at school realised (they didn’t). Let’s just hope they don’t read this…

It looks cute too, and also tracks steps which my kids love to keep an eye on (they can be a little competitive too).

There’s a facility to draw a fence on a map, indicating where your child is allowed to go. You can set up alerts for when (or if) your child ventures outside of the space. So you can set it around the school, or around school and home, then it would sound an alarm on your mobile phone and you can bring up the map and see exactly where your child is.

Even just taking the kids to places like theme parks or fairs is less stressful when you can put a smart watch on your child. We have three kids, and we alternated it between all three of them. Charlie, is my runner, so when we went to my husband’s work family fun day, he wore it. When we went on a date night, Samuel wore it as he’s the most responsible. It didn’t stop Olivia calling us in the middle of our dinner to tell us her grandmother wouldn’t give her anymore chocolate, but that’s OK.

Why the TicTocTrack?

There are a few of these on the market at the moment, all in varying price ranges. I can’t speak for the others, but here’s what I know about the TicTocTrack watch:

  • You can tailor the ‘safe zone’ right to your own backyard if you like
  • It works on both Android and iOS
  • TicTocTrack is a registered NDIS provider
  • The watch comes in black, pink or blue
  • It’s splashproof but NOT waterproof
  • The clarity is amazing. You can’t even tell they’re talking on a watch
  • It’s Australian made and hosted in Brisbane
  • There’s an SOS function – a button on the watch for the kids to use in an emergency (note: it was loud enough to wake up our office one morning)
  • You can get suitable plans on Telstra or Vodafone starting at $12.00 per month
  • RRP is $199.95 plus postage and plan

Click to read the full article on Kidspot