Every parent knows how hard it is to get our kids away from screens. Whether it’s smartphones, tablets, or the TV, it seems there is always something vying for their attention when all we really want is for them to play outside. So, the activity tracking company, Fitbit, is doing their part to try and tempt kids into doing more by introducing a new fitness band just for kids — and parents everywhere are hoping it just may work.
The Fitbit Ace, geared towards kids ages 8 to 13, is similar to their entry level Alta model, but comes with a smaller band to fit their wrists and technology that fits their age group.
The Ace, priced at $99, doesn’t have all the bells and whistles as the adult version: For instance, it won’t count calories, and kids will be limited to 10 watchfaces to customize their bands. But, it will allow kids to track steps taken and also let parents track how active their child has been from their Fitbit app.
Basically, the Ace will prompt our kids to get moving so we don’t have to continuously harp on them to “Go outside and play, already.” And while the proverbial, “Moooooom, I’m bored” has been felt by parents for generations, childhood obesity is at an all-time high in the U.S. and should not be taken lightly.
According to the CDC, childhood obesity affects about 12.7 million children and adolescents in the U.S. Even if your child doesn’t have a weight issue, a sedentary lifestyle can create health issues and eventually become a pattern that follows them into adulthood.
Fitbit isn’t the first to create kid-friendly options for tracking fitness. A number of companies, including one of their biggest competitors, Garmin, already offer up trackers for kids to get them motivated. There’s also the LeapFrog LeapBand, which is aimed at younger kids to get them thinking about fitness early in life.
For those worrying about security, Fitbit has stated that the Ace accounts will not join the social component of their Fitbit app, which allows users to share pictures and workout summaries publicly. Parents also must create accounts for children aged 12 and under, and the app will also let them approve friends who their kids add before they can be accepted. If your child has a phone, the Ace will also display their calls on the screen.
While there are a lot of positives to fitness trackers for kids, there are also some downsides to consider. For some, tracking steps and activity could become a fixation, especially for girls trying to lose weight or those who have an eating disorder. Also, this type of hyper-concentration on numbers and how they “rank” against their peers could lead to some negative feelings about themselves.
Even with these possible considerations, motivating kids to move is always a good idea.
The Ace is available for pre-order beginning today and will be ready to ship sometime before June, the company said.