Are Smartwatches a Smart Choice for School?
Whether smartwatches should be allowed at school is a contentious issue. Many parents feel that a smartwatch can help to keep their child safe, but there are also safety concerns. Some schools allow smartwatches while some ban them altogether.
It’s a simple and sad fact that life is not as it used to be. Crime against children has increased. The WHO estimates that up to 1 billion children, aged 2–17 years, have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence or neglect in the past year. Having a device on a child that tracks their whereabouts, give parents some measure of peace of mind.
Most smartphones offer real-time GPS location tracking and two-way communication, so parents can always know the whereabouts of their children and stay in contact with them. Some devices can also send an alert when a child leaves a pre-set geographical area, referred to as geo-fencing.
On the other hand, these very safety features may pose a threat to children as location-tracking smartwatches are relatively easy to hack. Fact is, making a smartwatch for children that keeps all their data safe is an extremely difficult and expensive undertaking and not all companies are prepared to follow this tough route.
2. Provide some educational functions
Some smartwatches more than others, give children the opportunity to learn something. The Octopus teaches young children how to read the time with icons. The Octopus teaches children good habits and the concept of time through icons that link events (dinner/bedtime) with the time. Some watches keep the wearer up to date on world news and weather forecasts. Also, in the process of wearing and using the device, children become familiar with tech.
In reality, smart watches offer more entertainment than education. Smartwatches come loaded with games, some even come with multiplayer games, which are a constant temptation while students should be paying attention in class. In addition, a smartwatch can cause distraction in a class with notifications and ringing. Fact is, an electronic device is a source of distraction for children and teens which can make it hard for teachers to control their classes.
3. Helpful for children with ADHD
MedicalDaily.com reports that a study small in Norway has found that smartwatches can help kids with ADHD to improve their daily lives by providing them with reminders of certain tasks they need to do during the day. Parents can sync their smartphones with the child’s smartwatch and so stay in the loop on the child’s progress throughout the day, including whether they took their medication on time.
On the other hand, these devices can be more distracting than supportive for children with ADHD who easily get distracted. More research is necessary to determine how useful these devices can be for these children.
The greatest benefit of a smartwatch for a child seems to be its ability to help parents keep track of their children, but for schools, the device is probably a distraction in the class that they can do without.