Today’s post is brought to you by…me watching too many shows on Netflix where children were hurt.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that Andrew and I got all crazy and started watching documentaries…and when it was all said and done, I wanted my kids to live in a bubble forever. Over the last few months, we watched Abducted in Plain Sight, The Keepers, Leaving Neverland and The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann. In hindsight, I should have stopped myself…but we were on a roll and now, I’m building a bubble. #justkidding #sortof
So, after watching all of that stuff, I started thinking about this watch that my friend Jeni told me she bought for her son that has GPS on it and allows the kids to text and/or call preset numbers. Andrew and I researched it, bought two for the big kids and are SO PLEASED!!!! They’ve only had them for two weeks, but I thought it was enough time to do a mini-review. I’m hoping many of you already have them for your kiddos and can chime in as well in the comment section.
First, let’s backup.
Two years ago, my big kids saved and bought themselves Garmin Vivofit Jr watches…
…I talked about them HERE for the first time (and have continued to talk about them since). We have LOVED those watches! In fact, Miss Ashby got one from Santa this last year and is obsessed with her’s too. I snapped this pic of Ashby on Friday night…
…and then later realized you could see it in the picture. She never takes it off. Ever. Here are some of the reasons why we love this watch…
1: They’re waterproof.
2: They have an internal battery that lasts about a year, so you do not have to charge it daily (like an Apple watch).
3: We have their watches synced up to our phones, so we can monitor activity, steps, sleep cycles, and even other things. (For example: They’re able to log in their reading hours, TV hours, chores, etc.)
4: They’re kid sized so they fit their little wrists just perfectly.
5: They have timers on there to monitor activity (so if I say they can have 30 minutes of screen time, the timer goes off after 30 minutes).
6: We have it set to shut off automatically at 8:00 PM and then turn back on again at 6:30 AM ( so that they can’t mess with them when they’re supposed to be sleeping).
I just want you guys to know that for the record, we still love these Garmin watches, and Ashby still has one. We only bought the new Gizmo watches for the big kids for a few reasons (and then, I’ll explain more about them below):
1: You have to take them off and charge them daily, and I’m not sure Ashby is ready for that responsibility (her just leaving it on 24/7 seems to work right now).
2: It requires reading in order to work the Gizmo, and Ashby is a beginner reader. I can send lengthy text messages to my big kids, but I’m not sure Ashby is ready to read a lengthy text or scroll through Gizmo’s list of response text messages to text me back. I think she needs to be a little bit old and a more proficient reader to really be able to work the new watch.
3: The Gizmo allows the big kids to call and/or text Andrew and me and they use it very responsibly…Ashby is in kinder and I just don’t know that she’s ready for the freedom to call us at any time. I feel like we might need to be a tad more mature before that happens (so that she’s not calling us 500 times a day). The big kids most certainly wouldn’t have been ready in kindergarten, so I really can’t expect Ashby to be. Maybe when she’s eight or so, she’ll be ready? We’ll play it by ear.
1: Andrew and I each have the Gizmo Hub app on our phones. With this app, we can see who they’re calling and texting, we can identify their exact location (for instance, during the day, we can see the name of their school along with the physical address), and we can set all sorts of boundaries and features for their watches (see below).
2: We have set their watches so that they can each call or text only us. They can call our cell phones and we can call their watches. We can send them text messages and the kids can respond with either one of the many (there’s like 25!) pre-set options or they can reply with a voice text. They can also send us emojis. The pre-set texts they can send include things like: I don’t feel well, I want to go home, What time is dinner, I love you, What time are you picking me up, and on and on and on. I would say that most of the time, my kids are able to pick one of those text messages to send us, but if there isn’t one that corresponds with what they want to say, they send us a voice text. They can pick whether they’re sending it to Andrew or me (it doesn’t go to both). They can text us or call us any time. That being said…
3: We can set “quiet hours” on their watches so that the watch is silent. We have it set Monday-Friday from 8:00am to 3:00pm. This way, while they’re in school, they can not make their watch make any noises. Period. They can still call or text us (or receive calls and texts), but it will be silent. There are other little features on there phone that make noises, and they’re disabled during that time.
4: The watches have GPS. Even though my kids are young and I know where they are at all times, now, I reallllly know where they are. At any time, I can pull up my Gizmo app and see where they are.
5: They’re waterproof.
6: We were able to set a boundary. We set a physical boundary, and if our kids go outside of that boundary, we’re notified. For instance, if Smith wants to walk a few houses down to his friend’s house, I can set a boundary. If Smith leaves that boundary, I will get a notification.
7: It monitors their steps and activity.
8: There are timers you can set. This way, I can say “go read for 30 minutes” and they can set a timer to go off when they’re done.
9: There are no apps on the watch and no internet. It is only for calling and texting who we allow (and at this time, that’s just Andrew and me).
The only negative I’ve found at this time is that you do have to charge it daily (just like an Apple watch). It says it will go several days without having to be charged, but we’re just getting in the habit of doing it every night while they’re sleeping.
Also, just like an Apple Watch, we had to add this to our Verizon account for $10 a month each. Now, I have two friends who use another carrier and they were able to buy one and get it set up by visiting the Verizon store even though they don’t use Verizon. I believe (but could be wrong) that you can just pay Verizon monthly for the watch’s service. We bought the watch first (directly through their site), and then added it to our account once they arrived, but you can just walk into a store a get one as well.
Now, on day one, Kensington dropped hers and the face of it shattered. Yes. Right off the bat. We contacted Gizmo and because we had the warranty protection, they overnighted us a new one for $20. She really innocently dropped her’s, and we were happy that it was easily replaced…but our kids will be paying for the replacements in the future. Sigh.
One last watch related thing. Remember this…
…my Apple Watch 4 Review? I’ve owned all four versions of the Apple Watch and reviewed them all HERE. Well, Andrew has happily only had the Apple Watch 1 since day one and didn’t think he ever needed to upgrade. Last week, his 1 stopped working, so he contacted Apple and was able to trade it in for a little money to apply to a new one and he begrudgingly bought the 4…and is now obsessed 🙂 . #toldyouso If you need to know why it’s so awesome, you can check that out HERE.
That’s a lot of watch talk for a Monday!
I’m sure I only scratched the surface on this Gizmo thing, so if you have input/ideas/suggestions, please comment and share!! I would love to hear about other ways we can use the watches!!!