18.04.2019, 10:11 MedGizmo
Heather Redding: Wearables for Kids. Modern Age Necessity or a Scary Accessory?
Heather Redding is a part-time assistant manager, solopreneur and a writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is also an avid reader and a tech enthusiast. When Heather is not working or writing, she enjoys her Kindle library and a hot coffee. Reach out to her on Twitter.
While technology can certainly be an advantage in both our business and personal lives, it will always be something of a double-edged sword. The same technology and devices that can keep us so connected with others around the world can also actually inhibit connection with the people around us.
The same devices that help us get around and find things can also be a major obstacle to privacy. Technology can certainly help us broaden our horizons, but it can also become something of a prison that keeps us from ever going anywhere.
Setting good boundaries with technology can already be challenging enough for adults, but parents have the additional challenge of making good decisions about technology for their kids as well. As wearables become more mainstream, the decision as to whether or not to allow their kids to use them - or even encourage them to do so - is one more challenge facing parents.
When deciding what kinds of wearables to allow your kids to use, how often or for how long, here are 5 points to consider.
1. Is it healthy?
It should be somewhat telling that both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs put some pretty strict limitations on their kid's screen time. That being said, not all screen time is equal. In other words, today, tablets can be used to paint, draw, create and kids are even learning to code. In addition to considering how much to allow your kids to use technology, you also have to consider what they are using it for.
It is no secret that childhood obesity is a major issue, so if a fitness tracker like a Fitbit or Nike Fuel Band will help encourage or motivate them to be active, then it might be a very good thing.
In fact, some wearable technology can actually help your kids be more healthy by reminding them to pause their screen time and get up and move. While kids may not fully understand the health implications of obesity, they tend to be keenly aware of the social implications at even a very young age.
This alone gives them plenty of motivation to want to use wearables to help them stay more active. Letting them use wearables might even save you the agony and headache of trying to get them to do something other than sit staring at a screen.
2. Is it safe?
Many parents are quite rightly concerned about smartphone usage and the potential damage to teenage brains. That being said, fewer and fewer teenagers are even using their smartphones as phones anymore, choosing to text or video chat instead.
While there may still be some risk, the farther away from their head a teen or child keeps their electronics, the less susceptible they are to the negative effect of emissions.
Conversely, however, there are other wearable devices, such as Bluetooth headsets that could simply reintroduce the same health hazards that smartphones once produced. Before you allow your kids to use any type of electronics, be sure and fully investigate any potential health hazards.
3. Will it keep them safe?
Texting while driving may have become every parent's worst nightmare. At least of those that have children of or nearing driving age. While technology usage can certainly have some risks, there are some technologies that can actually help keep your kids safer, including wearables.
Not all wearables are something that you interact with. Some wearables literally do nothing but help keep your kids safer. Before your child is old enough to have their own cell phone, GPS tracking devices like Trax or HereO can help you keep your kids safe when taking them to crowded areas or events like shopping malls, concerts, fairs, amusement parks or other busy venues.
Personal safety wearables act like a panic button and don't even need cell service to operate. If your teen needs assistance and gets separated from their cell phone, they can still get help when they need it even if they don't know where they are.
4. Can it help with medical issues?
While many of the medical applications of wearable technology are in their infancy, there are already a number of applications that can help children that have moderate to severe health issues.
Apple is partnering with Stanford Medical to develop a heart monitor for their smartwatches that could prove to be invaluable to the parents of children with a heart condition. Smart inhalers are already available that can help both doctors and parents better manage their child's asthma and some of that technology may soon be available in a wearable device.
here are also a number of wearable devices either on the market or in development that can help diabetics better manage their blood sugar and insulin levels.
Parents quite rightly want to keep their children close where they can monitor them, while children want the freedom to explore and branch out on their own from time to time. This is true of all parents, but it is especially true of the parents of children that have any type of severe health issues.
Even when children don't have serious health issues, wearables may soon give all parents better peace of mind when their children are far away and even help kids themselves feel safe and secure. Best of all, it won't even be a false sense of safety they feel.
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18.04.2019, 10:11 MedGizmo
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