With the release of watchOS 7, Apple at last turned the Apple Watch into the GPS-based kid tracker parents have wanted, albeit at a price point that requires careful consideration. As someone in the target demographic for such a device — a parent of a “tween” who’s allowed to freely roam the neighborhood (but not without some sort of communication device) — I put the new Family Setup system for the Apple Watch through its paces over the past couple of months.
The result? To be frank, I’m conflicted as to whether I’d recommend the Apple Watch to a fellow parent, as opposed to just suggesting that it’s time to get the child a phone.
This has to do, in part, with the advantages offered by a dedicated family-tracking solution — like Life360, for example — as well as how a child may respond to the Apple Watch itself, and the quirks of using a solution that wasn’t initially designed with the needs of family tracking in mind.
As a parent of a busy and active tween (nearly 11), I can see the initial appeal of an Apple Watch as a family tracker. It has everything you need for that purpose: GPS tracking, the ability to call and text, alerts and access to emergency assistance. It’s easy to keep up with, theoretically, and it’s not as pricey as a new iPhone. (The new Apple Watch SE cellular models start at $329. The feature also works on older Apple Watch Series 4 or later models with cellular. Adding the Apple Watch to your phone plan i ..