New idea for Apple Watch Cellular - kids access

Discussion in 'Apple Watch' started by bbeagle, May 25, 2018.

  1. bbeagle macrumors 68040

    bbeagle

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2010
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    #1
    I was thinking, as a parent of two grade school kids, that the Apple Watch cellular might have another great use.

    Instead of giving our kids cellphones which have these problems:
    • they could take or receive questionable pictures
    • internet access where they could go to questionable web sites
    • can be distracted playing games
    Instead, an Apple Watch cellular gives kids a few things that they want:
    • Ability to text message friends
    • Ability to call or receive phone calls
    It also gives parents the ability to
    • Ability to text or call their kid whenever they need to
    • Track where their kid is through Find My Phone
    • Monitor their kids' texting activity - through the phone paired to this watch.
    Anybody's opinions of giving a 10 to 14 year old this type of access before they get a real cellphone?

    (The kid would not have access to the phone paired to the watch. This extra phone would be kept at home all the time with the parents. I understand that we'd have to pay monthly for the line fee for the unused cell phone, but that seems to be worth it to have this control)
     
  2. chabig macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    #2
    Unless I'm reading it wrong, the ability to locate an Apple Watch requires a paired iPhone nearby. So "kid tracking" might not work as you hope.

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205547

    "If your watch is connected to a cellular network, but your iPhone isn't nearby, your watch can do the same things that it can when using Wi-Fi."

    I very well might be reading it wrong, though.
     
  3. tasset, May 25, 2018
    Last edited: May 25, 2018

    tasset macrumors 6502a

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    May 22, 2007
    #3
    What you are suggesting are great consumer-friendly use cases, and yes is possible (up to three Watches can be paired to an iPhone), but it would be messy in terms of a shared number/AppleID that each would get all the messages and calls. Unless you mean to give each child a Watch individually pair to its own iPhone, which would be costly but controllable.
     
  4. matrix07, May 26, 2018
    Last edited: May 26, 2018

    matrix07 macrumors 601

    matrix07

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    Jun 24, 2010
    #4
    Find My Friend works on WiFi so that would work.

    And I don’t see any reason why Find My Phone shouldn’t work as well but Apple isn’t very clear on that link.
     
  5. mollyc macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2016
    #5
    My 10 YO really wants an Apple Watch for his birthday later this year. He freely admits that he misplaces things easily and doesn't want the responsibility of a phone. Unfortunately you do have to have a phone in order to make the watch work. The watch needs to be paired to receive info and upgrades. We even stopped at the Apple store one day to confirm this (and I already have a Watch).

    My phone will be three years old around his birthday, so we are considering handing down my phone to him at that point and getting him a watch. He would be able to use all the watch functions at school, and I'm not worried about tracking him, so he can leave the phone at home. We mostly like the idea of reminders for him, and he does have several watches already that he takes good care of.

    WiFi is hit or miss - your phone has to have already connected to and remembered a specific location in order for the Watch to work without the phone.

    That said, you could get your child an LTE version of the watch, and keep the paired phone home, which then makes the watch fully functional when he is out and about, but that requires an extra $10/mo per watch.
     
  6. Dormammu macrumors 65816

    Dormammu

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    #6
    I think this is a really good idea. Something to keep in mind for when my kid comes of age :)
     
  7. bbeagle thread starter macrumors 68040

    bbeagle

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    Oct 19, 2010
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    #7
    I'm suggesting buying each kid a watch and a phone, but not giving the kid access to the phone - keeping that home and stored away. Yes, it's expensive, but we have the means.

    I don't know of any other way to keep in touch with a child on the go like I described above.
     
  8. dave006 Contributor

    dave006

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    Jul 3, 2008
    Location:
    Just West of East
    #8
    It might work technically but some additional things to consider: the paired iPhone needs to be on and connected to the carrier network for SMS/MMS Txt messages to work on the watch. Battery life will be a major issue. The watch is designed to use Bluetooth, then Wi-Fi and only as a last resort power up the LTE. My series 3 can't go all day just on LTE without using at least some Wi-Fi for connectivity vs LTE only. There is also the risk of breaking the watch while just being an active pre-teen.

    You don't need to buy new iPhones since there are a range of older iPhones that are currently supported, iPhone 6 and newer that support the watch.

    Dave
     
  9. sean000 macrumors 68000

    sean000

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2015
    Location:
    Bellingham, WA
    #9
    There is this option
    Caref GPS Phone Watch (Blue) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00YWEPNMK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apu_i_SNjeBb4WC44SV

    Reviews are not good. It would be more convenient to have a cellular watch like the S3, but without the necessity of an iPhone. Perhaps it could be paired with a parental unit’s iPhone in some sort of child mode?

    A model that is less expensive, more rugged, and favors battery life over all else would be ideal. I’m sure we will see some options in a few years, but they might not be from Apple. Cellular providers would love to sell these to parents. I’m sure there will be an upgrade path to their first smartphone and watch bundles as they grow into teens.

    One issue... even some preteens are not going to want a digital nanny strapped to their wrist. They could always get chipped, but there is a pretty dark episode of Black Mirror that shows how horribly wrong that can go. . We all survived our childhoods without our parents being able to monitor our locations and stay in constant contact. Still, there were times as a kid when I would have loved a convenient way to call my parents. Maybe if kids are allowed to call each other so it works like any cell phone... just one they can’t lose so easily.
     
  10. sclawis300 macrumors 65816

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    Apr 22, 2010
    #10
    This is not true. Phone does not have to be on.
     
  11. bbeagle thread starter macrumors 68040

    bbeagle

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    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    #11
    No, that's not true as far as I know. The phone does not have to be on for text messages to work. I've had my battery die on my phone a few times, or had it off at home, and just had my watch on at work and text messages and phone calls have worked. Maybe just Apple iMessages work? I don't know.

    Yes, thank you for that point about battery life. The battery life on LTE can't go all day. My daughter has wifi at school she can connect to for most of the day. So that should help the battery issue. But in the summer, this wouldn't be an option unless new watches that Apple releases have better battery life - which I doubt.

    My wife and I each have an iPhone 8, so we could use those for the watches, and get new iPhones later this year.
     
  12. Peter K. macrumors 6502a

    Peter K.

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    SoCal / Philly
    #12
    Actually, it does for SMS/MMS, as stated. iMessage will, however, work regardless.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 2, 2018 ---
    And to the OP (@bbeagle): overall, great idea!
     
  13. dave006 Contributor

    dave006

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    Jul 3, 2008
    Location:
    Just West of East
    #13
    You may believe this but you are incorrect. Here are the facts from Apple and AT&T for your reference.

    Apple: To receive SMS, MMS, or push notifications from third-party apps on your Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS + Cellular), your paired iPhone must be powered on and connected to Wi-Fi or cellular, but it doesn't need to be nearby. You also need to be signed in to iMessage on your iPhone.

    Link: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205547 (footnote #1)

    AT&T: You can use data and make and receive calls on your watch even if your iPhone is off. However, in order to send or receive text messages your iPhone must be on and connected to the AT&T network.

    Link: https://www.att.com/shop/wireless/features/numbersync.html#tab5

    Dave
     
  14. sclawis300 macrumors 65816

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    Apr 22, 2010
    #14
    Thanks for correction. Didn’t realize when I tested it out I was using iMessage.
     
  15. profets macrumors 601

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    Mar 18, 2009
    #15
    I have an 11 year old and have been thinking about this. Recently he’s been going out more on his own, with friends, playing in the neighbourhood, at the park, friends’ houses, etc. He wears a watch and usually comes home at an agreed upon time.

    I really want to let him be independent and not have to watch him or track him or anything like that. But I feel like an Apple Watch could be more useful than carrying an iPhone around in the future. Just to stay connected, in case of emergencies, or for a quick message if needed.
     
  16. bbeagle thread starter macrumors 68040

    bbeagle

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    Oct 19, 2010
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    #16
    Yes, I agree. I don't care as much about tracking in that I want it so we can contact each other in emergencies, or let her know 'come home for dinner in 15 minutes' and she can keep in contact with friends who are always messaging.

    My wife only cares about the tracking ability in that 'What if she gets kidnapped?'

    For me, another good thing with just a watch is that my daughter won't drop a phone, have a phone stolen, or just forget her phone and leave it somewhere. When she learns to focus more and pay more attention to things in a few years, maybe a phone would be okay then.

    Oh, I tried my own cellular watch all day without my phone and wifi. It lasted 10 hours on cellular outside before it was down to under 20%. I made and received about 10 texts, and no phone calls. So it seems to last a good time if you're not using it too much. But maybe a kid having a new-found gadget would use it a lot more.
     
  17. sean000 macrumors 68000

    sean000

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    Bellingham, WA
    #17
  18. matrix07 macrumors 601

    matrix07

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    #18

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