Fitbit Ace LTE smartwatch pulls kids from screens to indulge in rewarding playtime

The other day my 7-year-old nephew refused dinner until his father allowed him access to the smartphone after the meal. This was difficult for me – someone outside of parenting primary school children – to digest. I realized controlling screen time is a big issue for parents handling kids in this age group. These kids are distancing themselves from outdoor sports and playtime only means video games.

Smartwatches have very little share in this. Perhaps, the screen real estate makes them mere child trackers rather than motivators, while smartphones or game consoles enjoy the lion’s share. Even when the smartwatch has more potential to allow kids some distraction from eye-straining mobile screens. Google with Fitbit has been exploring this possibility for a couple of years; now it seems to be rolling out that potential wearable that could provide “benefits of a smartphone. Without the smartphone” in your child’s hand.

Designer: Fitbit

Enter the Fitbit Ace LTE, the first of its type wearable for kids ages 7+ that combines playtime with video games to get kids active without compromising too much on their ongoing lifestyle. By bringing immersive, interactive 3D games to the child’s wrist, Fitbit may have just crossed the line, but its interesting idea to align gametime with playtime really places the device in my good books.

The more a child plays (moves) the more games they unlock on their Ace LTE. This is a simple motivation mantra around which the entire wearable is designed. Because it’s going to be on the child’s wrist all the time, this is not the only feature it packs: privacy and parental control are the driving pillars. Powered by webOS, the Fitbit Ace using Fitbit Ace Pass and the Fitbit Ace app, allows parents to track their child’s real-time location, call or text them, send and receive voice messages, and even set trusted contacts that are permitted to interact with the child. For safety, the child’s location or activity data is deleted every 24 hours while their activity data is erased after 35 days of backup.

To recognize and reward, Fitbit Ace LTE kid’s smartwatch uses Google’s self-developed movement algorithm to accurately measure kids’ physical activity whether they’re “playing hide and seek, jumping on the bed or having a sibling dance-off,” Google notes. The idea is to encourage and motivate all types of movement – visible in ‘Noodle,’ an activity ring on the watch home screen – and reward the same with new games and more game time.

Noddle is not the only weirdo on the Fitbit Ace LTE. Kid’s get their own customizable Eejie that stays happy off the wearer’s daily physical activity. So, the more kids clock their activity goals the happier their Eejie gets. And besides customizing the Eejie, kids can also use different watch bands that clip on and unlock ‘different items, styles, rooms and Noodles’ to interact and play with. With 16 hours of playback time, 50-meter water resistance, and a scratch-resistant display, the Fitbit Ace LTE is available for preorder at $229.95.