Does my kid really need a fitness band?
Probably not. If your offspring are anything like ours, they're balls of energy that seemingly have no end in sight. They probably get more exercise than any of us these days. On the other hand, the things we fawn over here at Stuff - like smartphones, video games, and other amazing trinkets - probably chip away at some kids' physical activity time. So maybe it makes sense that we'd use another device to course correct.
Yeah, maybe. What does this do, then?
Garmin's kid-focused version comes in colours like "broken lava" and "digi camo" (and "real flower," too), and is designed for ages 4 to 9. The Vivofit Jr. has a tiny LCD screen and button, and it tracks steps, sleep, and daily activity time with a goal of 60 minutes of movement a day. The band also has customisable Task Timers, so your kids know how long to brush teeth, or maybe how long they ought to read books daily.
And it's all gamified, too. On the iOS and Android companion app, kids can chart their progress on a colorful adventure path and unlock rewards in the process. Parents, meanwhile, can use the same app to ensure their kids are actually expending some precious energy along the way. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a GPS tracker or SOS function, so keeping your kids safe and secure is still very much your job.
Isn't my kid just going to lose this?
We wouldn't bet against it. But at least Garmin has made it so your child never has to take it off. The one-year battery life ensures it can stay away from a charger for ages at a time, while the rubberised band design means you don't have to worry about broken clasps. It's waterproof, too, so it can stay on during baths and showers. Frankly, if your kid wants to leave this on for a year at a time, Garmin has made it possible. And maybe you won't be buying a replacement in a week's time if that's the case.
Sign me up for the wearable kid-tech revolution!
Sure. The Garmin Vivofit Jr. is available now for US$80 and the included band fits wrists up to 145mm. Kids who need something a little larger can get a Vivofit Jr. XL band separately, which fits up to 170mm wrists, or just use Vivofit 3 bands.