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AIBU? think a soon to be six year old doesn't need a bloody smartwatch?

64 replies

artisanscotcheggs · 29/01/2019 01:44

Just that really.

I don't know if I'm being an old grump or not, but I really don't see why a young child needs a smartwatch. Fiancé's ex wife wants to get one for the child they had together. He actually agrees with me, neither of us think she needs one, we could get her a standard watch until she's a bit older. I'm just trying to gauge it we are both being grouches. I'm the kind of person who finds it completely bizarre when i hear parents talking about their child's new iPad - only to find out they're four years old or something. Who gives a four year old an iPad? You can buy lower priced tablets that won't break the bank when they are inevitably broken within five minutes. I'm genuinely stunned.

She has supervised time on a tablet and also some time gaming on a Nintendo switch that belongs to her father, but those things are always supervised, and don't involve any socialising online.

So Mumsnet, am I being Oscar The Grouch, or is a plain non internet watch quite enough for a soon to be six year old?

Thank you in advance. Picture of Oscar attached just in case that is in fact me. think a soon to be six year old doesn't need a bloody smartwatch?
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bookmum08 · 29/01/2019 07:42

I expect her school won't allow it to be worn at school. She will most likely find it exciting for 10 minutes and then get bored of it or distracted by a cuddly unicorn that someone else (maybe you?) gives her as a birthday pressy.

AFOLNerd · 29/01/2019 07:59

I have just caved to my ds request for a second hand Apple Watch after 2 years of asking. He is getting it for his 15th birthday next week.
He has had to prove to me that he can be trusted to look after his iPhone 6, it’s been 18 months and it looks like new.
Having spent hours looking at them I can’t see that they would hold any interest for a 6 year old. I don’t even think my 12 year old dd would get anything out of one, plus I certainly wouldn’t trust her with £200 on her wrist she would lose it within a week!

Pointless in my opinion.

ArfArfBarf · 29/01/2019 08:06

My dd had a vtech one at that age. It had a camera which she liked to play “spies” with and some games. She needed it about as much as she needed any of her toys but she definitely enjoyed it and it was age-appropriate.

Peanutss · 29/01/2019 08:07

It’s not really any of your business is it?

Knew this would be coming...

No its not technically but OP can still have an opinion on it can she not? A lot of threads are started about things that are not really any of the posters business but they are interested in finding out other peoples views.

For what it's worth OP I agree with you in that I find it a bit mad. My OHs son is 6 and he has Xboxes, tablets, a laptop, a fit bit etc... I actually had to stop my partner from buying him a new laptop for his birthday this year because he couldn't think of anything else. It would have been just a complete waste of money as he already bloody has one!

I think people struggle thinking of gifts these days because everything is about the latest technology or gadget.

artisanscotcheggs · 29/01/2019 14:10

@itsbritneybiatches they're all valid reasons for getting one, if a child needs security when they're away from their primary parent.

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artisanscotcheggs · 29/01/2019 14:14

@RogerBannister try harder dear. I really don't understand the hatred towards step/step-parents to be on here.

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SkylightAndChandelier · 29/01/2019 14:54

My 5 year old is fascinated by my smart watch - if I could get a strap small enough I'd get him one - mind you it's a xiaomi which I wear in preference to my apple watch because it only needs charging once a fortnight rather than every day, does almost everything still (except taking calls), and crucially, only cost about 20 quid - so if I lose it or break it, it's not the end of the world.

So I guess if it's a 400 quid apple watch, YANBU. If it's a 20 quid Xiaomi, then why not.

artisanscotcheggs · 29/01/2019 15:07

Sorry for the multiple posts - I'm using the app and I'm trying to respond to everyone but I don't want to flood the forum with multiples.

Hopefully this response will cover things.

@Saturdaycartoon family sharing of an iPad is entirely reasonable because it's not attached to just one person, and I imagine it also promotes sharing within a family unit. It's a positive idea. Something that belongs to a family unit is more likely to well taken care of too, or at least that's how my mind sees it.

I have a first generation iPad mini that is basically just something i use to read my kindle books on now. It doesn't update the iOS anymore, and it's absurdly slow and definitely wouldn't run Netflix! The tablet the little one has access to is an android and is pretty basic. She really only uses it to watch Ryan's Toy Review on YouTube, and play a couple of educational games that help her with language and numeracy. She's very much into drawing things for herself and other people, and likes to play with stuff that involves her using stickers and craft stuff. I think it's a happy medium because she won't get upset if she can't use her tablet. She is just as happy colouring and playing with her Shopkins and Pokemon cards.

@Ringdonna were the apple devices gifts from other people, or yourself? I know it's harder to control what other people buy, especially once a child has seen it because taking it off them if you don't approve of something usually causes meltdowns. A friend of mine gave his nephew his older iPad as a gift when he got an upgrade, but that I can completely understand because it was several years old, and wasn't handed to him brand new obviously. He was VERY happy because to him it was new as he'd never used one before.

@MigGril the tracking feature seems to be the main reason people get them, which truthfully is entirely fair because as previously said, knowing where your child is when they're not with you, is totally reasonable. I like the encouragement to be active too. The little one already has a reward system in place using stickers and such, she's VERY into stickers.

@AuntieStella she's not an overly sporty type yet, she likes her dance classes and completely adores Pokemon. She will play games on the Switch belonging to her father, but she is just as happy collecting physical cards too. She spent several hours organising all her cards, lots of little things please her a lot. She's just as happy getting one of those little surprise gift bags from Asda, as she is getting a new switch game to play.

@MymymyLinda I absolutely see your POV. For me a lot of it comes from the fact that I (and many of us of course) grew up and survived without the current level of tech that is available now. Walking to and from school alone, going to the corner shop etc, whereas now many parents wouldn't dream of a child doing that, which is entirely okay because if that makes them uncomfortable knowing their child is walking to school with no tracking etc, that's their right to feel that way. The way things stand now, the little one isn't allowed to be constantly glued to tech because both her parents don't want her to be that way, so she has a happy medium there. I completely agree with them as far as my involvement goes as her father's fiancé. Her mum doesn't allow tech at the dinner table which i totally agree with, and if we were out to dinner, all tech would be set to silent and pocketed. I do find it comical when you see families all glued to tech when they're out together, rather than having conversations, but then there could be a multitude of reasons for that, especially if that tech was helping one of the family members deal with a social situation, for example.

@bookmum08 I'm not sure if her school will have an issue with it, I'd have to find out. She doesn't have issues paying attention in school because she absolutely loves it. She actually gets upset when she can't go to school if she's poorly.

@AFOLNerd totally agree with your thinking regarding a child proving they can be responsible with something. Little one is very careful with her toys, and I imagine she would be just as careful with a smart watch even though i don't think one is on the cards just yet.

@Peanutss thank you for the support RE being allowed my opinion, I appreciate it. I will be honest and say that your other half's son having all that tech made me do the whole raised eyebrows thing, mainly because I'd wonder if they ever do anything other than glue themselves to it. You're absolutely right regarding everything being about tech, but luckily the little one loves non tech stuff too. It worries me knowing some parents leave their kids glued to xboxes and the like to keep them occupied rather than interacting with them and encouraging them to do things offline. I think it's horribly lazy. That's not to imply that's what your other half is doing, I'm talking in a wider sense about other parents doing it.

@SkylightAndChandelier from what you've described, the Xiaomi sounds like a very good entry level device, thank you.

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SkylightAndChandelier · 29/01/2019 15:23

At risk of sounding like a salesman - i love my Xiaomi - cheap, durable (the latest one, which I think is 35 quid is properly waterproof, the last one was only shower proof).

It does the things that are important to me - tells the time, and pings me on messages/calls/appointments.

My 5 year old mainly likes it for the steps/heartbeat monitoring. It's not flashy, so it's not nickable, and even if it was nicked, it's cheap.

My kids do have access to a lot of devices, and an ipad each - but then we travel a lot and so have no childcare, so it's more for DP and my convenience - it means they can amuse themselves in hotels/on planes/ in restaurants with minimum fuss. And they're as likely to be found drawing on them (or for the elder, reading) as playing games or watching youtube. We also play together on them (ludo, or chess, or pictionary-like stuff), and they use them to keep on top of lessons like Doodle maths. Plus call family on skype etc.

Really these things are wonderful I don't think we should worry about them corrupting our kids, I think they're opening entire new worlds to them.

Peanutss · 29/01/2019 15:30

I will be honest and say that your other half's son having all that tech made me do the whole raised eyebrows thing, mainly because I'd wonder if they ever do anything other than glue themselves to it

Yes I can see how it looks that way. He does try to restrict gadget time so although he's got lots of different things, he only has x amount of time on whichever he chooses to play on iyswim.

I think my OH can be lazy when it comes to present buying to be honest. He buys the new flashy gadgets because they are what's seen as cool these days and he doesn't really have to think about it!

Pk37 · 29/01/2019 15:30

Ok I agree with the smart watch but not the iPad.
Dd has one from 4 and is now 7 ..we got that because the kindle fire was crap ! You get what you pay for ..
It has so many educational apps , she can listen to music and it’s still going strong even though it was second hand .
She is not allowed to have the chat function on any game and she only really uses it for under 30 mins a day .
It really should t bother anyone if they choose to buy expensive things for their kids, it’s their money after all

Daisiesinavase · 29/01/2019 15:36

No of course she doesn't need one. I do worry that children are getting used to always being tracked and always being able to contact someone. It creates a false sensw of security, and it makes them feel an anxious id they go out without a "smart" gadget.

Limensoda · 29/01/2019 15:38

Children have lots of things they don't need these days so I don't see this as any different. I don't see that it's any of your business though.
Leave it to your fiance and his ex to discuss and sort out.

puppymouse · 29/01/2019 15:39


And I say that as a parent whose 5yo has her own iPod Touch (refurbished one). Which I can't justify other than I wanted something with the same operating system as our phones which she was used to using. She plays cbeebies and number/spelling games on it and listens to music/plugs it into her karaoke system. It doesn't leave the house.

It's really asking for trouble to give any little one that age something that complex and valuable.

Limensoda · 29/01/2019 15:43

I really don't understand the hatred towards step/step-parents to be on here

There isn't hatred for step parents.
There is however a dislike for the attitude of some step parents who have blurred boundaries when it comes to their step children or their partner's ex.

Phineyj · 29/01/2019 15:51

If you mean the VTech one it is a nine day wonder, but the step counter is good as DD madly runs about to get it to count - so that's at least exercise!

BartonHollow · 29/01/2019 15:57

I do wonder if the tracking aspect is why her DM wants her to have one so she can watch your every move on contact weekends...

WFTisgoingoninmyhead · 29/01/2019 16:06

I think the younger children get au fait with technology the better, which is why V Tech do some great kids stuff. My DS who is 26 is a bit of a geek in the tech industry, he builds APPS and stuff, he said the reason he has progressed so far so young is that he had a PC and internet access from age 2 and he was allowed all the new stuff as it came out. It is imperative now that we arm our kids with the tools to succeed. As much as we don't want to admit it, those tools are going to be way beyond you and me if we don't keep up.

artisanscotcheggs · 29/01/2019 16:18

@Limensoda bollocks.

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artisanscotcheggs · 29/01/2019 16:31


I do agree with you, I think it's important to provide the tools for children to succeed and develop, but certainly for her father and, it's a safeguarding issue as well because he is certainly very stringent about any socialising online for example. At this point, neither he or her mother allow it which I completely agree with. Naturally children can master technology without the need for online social interaction, which is why we have parental controls. One of the things that has been brought up in conversation, was possibly introducing her to Raspberry PI because they're a fantastic way for children to learn, but not right now.

@Peanutss it's really hard to juggle things when everything is so busy, but I imagine you're not the kind of person to keep it to yourself if you think he's being lazy about things. It's definitely very easy to fall back on tech to keep children occupied when someone is run off their feet, but it's not ideal unless the things they're using are educational and help them learn new skills etc.

@BartonHollow It's possible I suppose. As her mother she's completely entitled to know where her daughter is, and that should never be dismissed.

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lanbro · 29/01/2019 16:34

My dps bought my soon to be 7 yr old a Garmin Vivofit Junior for Christmas and she loves it! It's synced to my phone and she likes counting her steps and telling the time, can't see the harm!

artisanscotcheggs · 29/01/2019 16:47

@lanbro I am madly googling all these models as it seems there is a wide range. I assume that with junior models, the connectivity is to a parent's smartphone so it allows for remote control. Does it tell you everything she's done with the watch, or just things like steps taken and location?

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lanbro · 29/01/2019 16:57

@artisanscotcheggs tbh I haven't even investigated it fully yet, she's not allowed to wear it at school so mainly just on weekends, so far she's just changed her emoticon thing and counted her steps, a posh watch at the mo but my dps are into all that and wanted to treat her!

lanbro · 29/01/2019 16:58

Just had a quick look and I can set chores for her which sounds excellent!

artisanscotcheggs · 29/01/2019 17:04

@lanbro thank you for the info.

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