Do your kids need smartphones or tablets? Debatable, and the answer depends on who you talk to and how highly they think of smartphones as a whole. Do kids aged 5-12 need a smartwatch? No, but Sky Mobile is now stocking kid-targeted smartwatches anyway.
According to the press release I was sent, the SPACETALK watch is designed to offer peace of mind to parents of kids aged 5-12. It's a smartwatch that has a GPS tracker and a SIM card, so parents can track their kid's movements and call/text them where necessary. Plus there are 'safe zones' that can be set up to alert parents if their kid leaves a particular area.
There are also no apps, cameras, or social media, and functions can be turned off for 'School Mode' - because schools always have a hate/hate relationship with kids and their communication tech.
I can understand parents wanting to use technology to keep tabs on their kids and make sure they're not bunking off school, getting lost, or being kidnapped. But anytime I see a smart device aimed exclusively at kids my scepticism goes into overdrive, and let's face it these types of devices do not have a very good track record when it comes to security.
SPACETALK says that privacy and safety is at the heart of its products, and has taken steps to ensure proper user authentication and encryption. it even has gone so far as to develop all the software in house, rather than doing any sort of outsourcing, and promises to be compliant with Australian and European data privacy laws (including GDPR).
Which is good and you have to give them credit for that, because that stuff is extra important where kids are concerned. But history is against them, and you can't blame anyone for being sceptical or concerned.
But if you want to buy one of these for your kid anyway, Sky is selling them for £13 a month on a plan that comes with Unlimited calls and texts, plus 1GB of data.
Why it needs data is unclear, since this thing has no internet access. I've emailed Sky to ask what this is all about, and will update if I hear back. Here's what Sky has to say about data:
The SPACETALK requires a data allowance as well as calls and texts to allow triangulation of the watch’s location and communicating with the accompanying AllMyTribe app. The 1GB data pack gives the device enough data to cover these functions.
So there you have it. The security features don't work with data, but you don't need to buy a lot of it. Assuming you're ok with slapping a tracking device on your kids, that is.