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You want to keep in touch with your kids, but they aren’t quite ready for a smartphone. Geeks2U review Spacetalk’s smart watch – a savvy solution with GPS.
You’ve probably already heard of Spacetalk, the smart watch for kids aged 5-12. It hit the market in October 2017 and was designed right here in Australia by MGM Wireless with the aim of safely connecting parents and children. But if you don’t know about it, here’s the lowdown: it’s a mobile phone, GPS location tracker and smart watch all in one – and is the perfect device for staying in touch with your kids without a smartphone.
According to Geeks2U’s Head of Technology, Anthony Hill, “Spacetalk is aimed at younger children because it has limited functionality.” It doesn’t have a camera or access to social media apps. It can make and receive calls and SMS and it has geo-location, or GPS tracking, as well. Anthony talks us through its best features.
Spacetalk can make and receive phone calls and send text messages just like a regular mobile phone but parents can set up an approved contacts list so kids are kept safe. As Anthony explains, “Depending on the configurations that parents want to set up, you can either block unknown callers or have those numbers [diverted] through to you.”
And, as parents approve the safe contacts list, there’s no risk of communication with strangers. Worried about it interrupting lesson time? Simply set the watch to ‘School Mode’ and calls and texting are disabled during the school day.
To best stay in touch with your kids without a smartphone, Spacetalk requires a SIM card connected to a mobile phone plan. The device uses the 3G network and is designed to work with Telstra but Anthony notes there may be some flexibility here. “There are a number of other providers that use the Telstra network,” he says.
And, because you (and your kids) aren’t downloading apps, Spacetalk doesn’t use a great deal of data, so you can opt for an inexpensive, low-data phone plan. In fact, the Spacetalk and its pared-back capabilities help you avoid most of the pitfalls of traditional smartphones, which can be distracting and expensive.
Do your kids get themselves to or from school? If so, Spacetalk could be well suited to your family’s needs. When your child is wearing a Spacetalk watch, you can monitor their whereabouts on your own smartphone using a special GPS tracking app. You can set up safe zones and be alerted when your child arrives at their destination.
It also gives parents peace of mind knowing their children are safe and contactable at all times. Added bonus: there’s an SOS button that allows them to reach you fast in the case of an emergency.
In 2020, when we all need to be hyper-vigilant about keeping our data safe, it’s good to know that with the Spacetalk smart watch, your security is taken seriously. All data from Spacetalk and the associated app is hosted in Australia and protected, and secure, to Australian standards. This is really important, says Anthony.
“We’re all storing so much data online and with Spacetalk, it’s tracking your children, so that information is very sensitive,” he says. “Having that data located on servers within Australia means that there’s less chance of those sites being compromised.”
Kids will gain independence and that treasured first experience of owning their own smart device. The Spacetalk battery life is 24 hours, depending on use, and can easily be charged at night using the magnetic charging cradle. There is a whole raft of additional functions that kids may find useful, including a stopwatch, an alarm clock, a step counter and a goal/habit tracker. The Spacetalk watch’s silicone strap is durable and comfortable so the device will stay securely in place on a child’s wrist.
The cost of the Spacetalk watch is cheaper or in line with most smart watches or smartphones. And it’s dust, splash and water resistant (but not waterproof, so little ones will need to take care on beach days in summer!)
For the most part, we love that Spacetalk has only essential smartphone components, such as text and call features but parents will need to consider its long-term suitability for their kids’ needs. As it doesn’t have a camera or the ability to download apps, will they need to migrate to a more complex mobile phone or tablet in the near future, or can they use this for at least a few years to come?
The Spacetalk smart watch is a sound investment for families with kids in primary school. The GPS tracking component allows parents to know their child’s location at all times. Meanwhile, kids can send and receive messages and phone calls from a set contacts list you control. As there’s no camera, and no access to apps or social media, it’s safe for children aged as young as 5 to wear and use. Spacetalk’s wearability also ensures kids won’t misplace an expensive gadget. All in all, it’s a great idea that’s very well executed.