A Watch That’s Smart Enough to Track Your Kids

A Watch That’s Smart Enough to Track Your Kids

I can’t imagine the horror of a child abduction. Yet here in the U.S., more than 800,000 kids are reported missing every year, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Technology to the rescue? The makers of the hereO child GPS watch hope so. Launching today and available for pre-order via crowdfunding site Indiegogo, the watch combines GPS and GSM technology to give parents some extra peace of mind. According to the hereO team, the watch is the world’s smallest real-time GPS tracking device.

Designed for children three years and up, it works in sync with the hereO locator apps, which are in development for Android and iOS and will be released later for Windows Phone.

Paired with that app, the watch functions as a real-time tracker, enabling parents to know their children’s whereabouts at all times. (If you’ve ever used Find My Friends on your iPhone or a similar location-monitoring app, you get the idea.)

Available in four kid-friendly colors, the water-resistant watch includes geo-fencing capabilities, allowing you to create virtual “safe zones” around areas like home and school. If your child leaves or arrives in a safe zone, you’ll get an immediate notification.

So, for example, if you want to know your child arrived home safely from school, the hereO will ping you as soon as he or she arrives within that zone.

There’s also a tamper-proof motion sensor and a panic button the child can press in case of emergency. The developers promise a battery life of 24-72 hours between charges, depending on usage.

Because GPS is a one-way technology, the watch relies on a built-in SIM card that can transmit location data via GSM networks (the same ones employed by AT&T and T-Mobile) in more than 140 countries, all without any roaming fees.

I’ve seen child-locator watches like this before, but most of them were big, bulky jobs that cost an arm and a leg. The hereO looks like a pretty normal-size kid watch, and it’s very reasonably priced.

In fact, if you pre-order, you can get the watch itself for $99, including a six-month subscription. The service costs $4.95 per month after that. Once the Indiegogo campaign ends, the hereO will retail for $149, with three months of service included.

As a parent, I try my best not to worry too much about abduction, but the statistics are sobering. The hereO offers not only peace of mind, but also a way to locate a missing child almost instantly, should the awful need ever arise. For just $99 and five bucks monthly, it’s a no-brainer in my book.

Veteran technology writer Rick Broida is the author of numerous books, blogs, and features. He lends his money-saving expertise to CNET and Savings.com, and also writes for PC World and Wired.

(Source: Savings.com)

Rick Broida has spent the last 25 years writing about technology in all its forms. A self-proclaimed cheapskate, he authors an eponymous blog for CNET. He is also a contributor to CNET's iPhone Atlas and Ehow Tech. Broida's book credits include the best-selling "How to Do Everything with Your Palm Handheld" and the more recent "The Cheapskate Rules: 21 Easy Money-Saving Tech Secrets."

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