Before becoming a parent it’s easy to say things like “I’ll never put my kid on a leash” or “My kid will never be alone.” Trust me, I was there too, 8 years ago. But, now, here we are! I’ve spent the last 3 weeks Googling things like ‘best GPS tracker for kids’, ‘GPS watches for kids’ and even ‘should kids have Apple watches’?
Trying To Find The Perfect GPS Tracking Watch For Kids
It was actually a pretty frustrating task to find the perfect GPS tracker for my 8-year-old son. So many of the GPS watches available on Amazon have very mixed reviews and say that the GPS locations are close at best, way off at worst.
Eventually, I gave up on the idea of getting just a GPS watch because I didn’t want to settle for a so-so product and still not feel safe when my son was riding his bike with friends.
We have so many great smartwatch options for adults, so why was it so hard for me to find one for a kid?
Should Kids Get Apple Watches So Parents Can Keep Track Of Their Locations?
I thought I finally had an answer when I remembered that Apple watches now come with the option of having 3g service and their own phone number! Since I am such an Apple fan and we already own 2 apple watches (be it 1st generation) it seemed like the best idea and the only real way that we could have GPS tracking, voice calling, and texting capabilities.
One problem crept up though. The Apple watch doesn’t actually work as a stand-alone line as I thought. The phone number that comes with the watch is more like a backup number for when you leave your phone and only have the watch. They are basically one device, so whoever has the watch is connected to the main phone they are synced with.
Needless to say, I don’t want my 8-year-old getting all of my text messages and I don’t want his either!
Finally Deciding On The Best GPS Tracking Watch For An 8-Year Old
So, back to the drawing board. Which, was actually ok because I was feeling a little weird spending almost $400 on a watch for a child! I mean really at that point it’s less to buy him an older model iPhone…The main problem there though is that we are afraid he would either lose it or drop it. Little kid pockets really are not made for adult-sized cell phones.
After all of my research online for the perfect device to track my child’s every movement, we finally settled on the Verizon GizmoWatch.
Top Reasons We Chose A GizmoWatch Over An Apple Watch
The Verizon GizmoWatch has it’s own phone number…no sharing texts/calls with mom.
The GizmoWatch is set up with 4g LTE, so it is always connected. No need for Bluetooth or wifi.
The GizmoWatch is capable of 2 way calling up to 10 pre-approved phone number.
GPS tracking in the GizmoWatch is VERY accurate…The location of the store we set up was shown as the exact address.
We can set boundaries in the map and get notifications if our child goes past where he should be…As much as I would like to think he doesn’t go past where I say, I know that isn’t always 100% true.
We can save locations and get alerts when he has arrived or left one of our saved locations…Going from the park and then to a friend’s house? Now we don’t have to worry if he made it to both locations ok.
Texting is limited to our pre-approved contacts and we can set the available text messages.
The price of the Verizon GizmoWatch is about half of what we would have spent on an Apple Watch.
The Gizmo Watch is not full of games/distractions…The Apple Watch is full of bells and whistles, but the reason for a kids GPS tracking watch is just that, to track the location of my kid, not give him another device to play with.
How Much Does The Verizon Gizmo Watch Actually Cost?
The GizmoWatch comes in with a retail price of $179. Like I mentioned before, this is about half of what we were planning to spend on an Apple Watch 3rd Generation with 3g and GPS.
I know for a lot of parents this price may come as a shock and seem unreasonable for what it is. I mean, it’s a kids watch for goodness sake. Trust me, I felt the same way.
But, the peace of mind I have when my son rides his bike to the park now is worth it to me!
If you are willing to sign a 2-year contract you can likely get a deal on the watch. At the time of purchasing they were doing a deal for $50 off the watch with a contract. I wasn’t looking to get a 2-year contract on a watch though. Who knows when we will be ready to upgrade to an actual cell phone?
Or, worst case scenario the watch breaks and we don’t replace it. For this reason, we chose to just pay for the device in full at the time of purchase.
There are other fees that go along with the GizmoWatch as well and I honestly had a hard time finding them all online before we bought the device, so let me shed some light on the hidden fees when purchasing the Gizmowatch from Verizon.
First, you have a $40 activation fee that is applied to your first bill.
Second, you have a $15 per month line fee. Remember, this watch has it’s own phone number and is connected to 4g LTE. If you already have a Verizon plan, you can add the watch line for an additional $5. Since we are currently on At&T for our phones, we had to pay the higher amount.
Lastly, if you decide that you don’t like the GizmoWatch after buying it, you can return it within 14 days…for a $50 restocking fee! After the activation fee and the restocking fee, you would already be out $90, so at that point, you may as well just shut it off and sell the thing.
Fortunately, I don’t think you will want to return it. Honestly, we have been very happy with this purchase and plan to keep it for at least a year or two.
How Accurate Is The GPS Tracking On The GizmoWatch?
I mentioned before that the accuracy of the GPS tracking is what caused me to keep looking at kids smartwatches for so long before finally settling on the Gizmo Watch.
Of course in the store they assured me that it was “very accurate” and I expected that much.
But, I am happy to report that it actually is very accurate. When we first set it up in the store, it was able to tell me the exact location where I was located.
Then, when we got it home, my son went for a jog around the block and the device constantly updated me with his location and I saw the exact route that he took.
There is one caveat to the GPS tracking. If you want real-time updates you have to turn that setting on in the parent app, otherwise it updates every few minutes (5 or so). This is to save the battery. I decided to turn on the real-time updates while my son was jogging and will probably do that for a while.
The other option is to leave it on periodic updates and then if you need to get a location update you can click the location button and it will update to show you where the device is at that exact moment.
Another cool feature is your child can hit the location button on his GizmoWatch at any time and it will send you an alert with his location update.
Don’t Forget The Gizmo Watch Accessories
When it comes to decking out your child’s new Gizmo Watch, you have a few accessories available. Some you can wait on and one you should get right away.
First up we have the GizmoWatch replacement bands. I have read many reviews that say the standard band wears out quickly. The default band is also a little awkward to put on, I like the replacement bands that have a more standard watch clasp on them.
You can get replacement bands direct from Verizon for around $25-$35.
Personally, I prefer to order this kind of stuff from Amazon, so I ordered a replacement band for the Gizmo for under $15.
It is important to note that you need to purchase a 20mm width replacement band, otherwise the band will not fit the Gizmo Watch.
The next accessory that is finally available is a replacement charger. The charger connects magnetically to the watch and has 3 small connections. For a while you could not buy a replacement charger for the Gizmo Watch, but I am happy to report that you can now buy a stand-alone USB Gizmo charger! The backup charger will run you about $13.
Lastly, and probably most important is a screen protector for the Gizmo Watch. Again, I grabbed this on Amazon for very cheap!
Verizon Gizmo Watch Review Wrap-Up
Overall, I am very happy with the purchase of the Gizmo Watch! I looked long and hard for the perfect kids smartwatch and feel like I finally ended up with the best option.
Let me know if you have any questions!