Apple Watch for kids?

Our nine year old daughter has an Xplorer watch, which is a type of smart watch for children but with limited functionality. It is generally only used as a location and talk device for security purposes, ie, the child can call parents, send simple sms and voice messages and be located via a gps on an app.

However, now children at this age are getting smart phones to take to school, typically they are usually hand me downs from parents and as the process of peer pressure kicks in, our daughter is asking for a phone.

Our solution is to give her a hand me down phone to keep at home or take out at weekends, but buy her an Apple Watch SE with cellular for everyday use, ie. the school day. We thought this would be a better solution as the phone would be practical for school as it is on her wrist, just like the old Xplorer watch that is accepted in schools in Norway. It does not have a big screen to play games on (the is the main reason why kids want the phone anyway) and is pointless for the school day as they are not allowed to use it on school premises anyway, and she can still call, send sms and be located.

However, as far as I understand, the watch is not necessarily designed to be a substitute for the phone with regards to longevity of the battery and therefore practicality as a phone. According to some reviews, it can be relied on for about a day…or at least 12 hours. I dont know how that translates into talk time, but we assume talking will not be very much, but there is the issue of surfing the web, but I assume that can be controlled as a parent control thing. The main point is, that it will not be much use as a child security device if the battery runs out during the 12 hour daytime in use.

Anyway, I would be interested in any experience with regards to children use, battery time, talk time for kids and the ability to limit surfing…and any other useful tips that can be given with respect to a child having it as a security measure.

Are phones allowed in children schools in UK? They are forbidden in France. ( not after secondary school)

I am in Norway FF.

Phones are allowed to be taken to school but must be left in the bag/rucksack and switched off. Basically they are only on and used going to and from school.

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We looked in to getting one for our daughter. It’s not as simple as we thought.
For full functionality the watch must be linked to an iPhone which has a monthly contract, It will not work with a phone on PAYG. The watch must also have its own monthly contract to make and receive call and texts when away from the phone, which is what we wanted when our daughter is in school, as there are no phones allowed. f the watch is within Bluetooth range of the phone it will work with full functionality. Once away from the phone, the watch will have to connect to your chosen network provider to work. Without this, it just tells the time.
If you link the watch to your phone, not your child’s, it will receive all your calls and messages. Therefore the child will needs its own contract with a provider for both an iPhone and a watch. This can only be done if they are over the age of 18 and can agree to a direct debit. A non starter obviously.
On the other points, I use my watch every day. I don’t make or receive calls on it but do occasionally text. With that the battery lasts 24hrs. I tend to switch the watch off at night and therefore charge it every other night. There is no facility to surf the net and you can select which apps work on the phone but these will have highly limited functionality


Excellent info Finkfan.

Coincidentally, I popped down to one of the electronic shops to check out the options earlier today a bought a 40mm SE cellular based on the chat I had.

Basically, she will have an Apple IPhone 7 hand me down which will have a new SIM card from Telenor and have her own number with unlimited calls and sms + 500mb download that is capped, for £10 per month. This phone will be mostly kept at home. This account must be set up by a guardian but it will be her own number on her own phone. She will also get a sky package for photo storage and get the ability to listen to music free…not sure how this works yet? However, we are also considering the Apple One family package, for music and photo share.

So the Cellular phone will work as a phone using this Norwegian service provider.

It’s good to know that there’s no web surfing option and decide which apps can be used, that’s a small relief.

In conclusion, it seems that to use the Apple Watch sensibly and practically for a nine year old, it has a lot to do with how kid friendly a service provider will be in terms of enabling a child package. Fortunately, all the large mobile service providers here in Norway provide a child friendly package.

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Yes. Individual schools may have their own rules. In general children will be asked to put them in a non-accessible mode during lessons.

We got the cellular models for our kids last year, but it’s an utter chore to enable this on the watches as you say without a monthly phone contract too, and they are both on PAYG. Ultimately I decided that cellular is a feature we can enable in the future hopefully when things are a little easier.

In addition if you go for watches with some of the newer health features the watch must be tied to an iPhone to use some of these, you need 2 factor authentication plus if you try to use parental controls the health features won’t be available as Apple want to protect the child’s privacy which includes parents.

Sometimes tha Apple ecosystem is easy, other times is a royal pain in the neck.

I am a little confused!

Is it not possible for a gaurdian to open an account for a child under 18 but using a parents account for direct debit, and the child has an independant number attached to an independant phone?

Almost certainly, but plans will vary from country to country.

In fact I’d say it’s a mess in the UK. I’ve had the kids iPhones on PAYG for a few years, so wanted a cheap independent watch plan but couldn;t see a way to get that. The telecom companies are making pay as you go very annoying - for example I buy a top up for my son’s EE SIM and when I try to apply it I now have to go through customer services to apply it as they want me on a monthly contract. Same with 3 on my/MrsAC/daughter’s 3 network SIMS - you keep getting diverted to sign up for a monthly contract when you don’t really want to.

3 network’s rates allowed a £10 top-up to last for months for my daughter but all call/SMS costs have rocketed which now means £10 disappears in days.

Annoying, I need to rationalise our phone plans buit as we are at different places during the day with varying connectivity a single provider may not work best.

Months since I checked on cellular contracts for the watches so things may be better or worse! I was just hoping for PAYG on iPhone and cheap monthly Apple Watch cellular if used infrequently even if heavy usage cost more.

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I didn’t think many people used payg now.
Lots of sim only packages that are v cheap. The three of us here have very inclusive packages with virgin for £25 total. Also Gif gaft

I’m not surprised given the hoops you have to jump through just to top up.

Previously, as noted, a £10 top up would last the kids months as most data usage is at home on wi-fi or using wi-fi calling. It’s a shame for those where a mobile is only used occasionally for calls (eg many of the elderly) who kept one topped up and didn’t want a monthly contract.

I’m sure there are good deals out there, I just sometimes prefer not to be tied in to a contract (another anyway!).

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