Buying and Using Fitbit for Kids : Parental Guide.

According to NCBI, about 30% of American children between the age of 6-8 are overweight, while the same applies to children aged 7-11 in European countries.

The end goal of using fitbit for kids is not just to get them to stay fit, but also to impact a healthy habit that sticks with them for a lifetime.

Physical activity has been shown to significantly lower the risk of becoming obese and prevent associated disease.

Activity trackers are widely used by adults in tracking physical activities, these fitness trackers do not only encourage users to take more steps, some of them can equally pass as fashion accessory. All these contribute to why kids fitness tracker is a valuable tool for getting kids to move the more.

Fitbit For Kids

Being one of the leading manufacturer of fitness tracking device in the market is my main focus in this post, although other  activity trackers that are suitable for kid are also discussed and narrowed down on some of the best trackers that will keep your kid moving.

What Are Fitbits?

They’re modern pedometer.

Unlike the old traditional pedometer that count steps alone, modern fitness monitor such are capable of counting steps taken by users, measure the amount of calories used during the day, the number of hours spent sleeping and some high end modern trackers are also capable of monitoring the heart rate.

How Does It Works?

Fitness tracker works by measuring your strides or steps (to determine if you’re running, walking or climbing), through the use of modern accelerometer, this accelerometer is in 3-axis, as compared to the old fashioned accelerometer which has only 2-axis, making readings less accurate.

For measuring calories, the device would calculate the amount of energy exhausted based on your activities and other pre-supplied values, like your height, gender, age and weight.

Once the data is acquired by the device, it synchronizes with a mobile or desktop app. Through the app, you can monitor your progress, analyze the data and see how you can improve your well-being.

For those trying to loose or gain weight, the data analysis is very valuable.

Some of the other benefits of the mobile and desktop app includes the ability to set a fitness goal and eventually get rewarded when you achieve your goal.

The idea behind this device is very simple; to encourage healthy lifestyle by motivating you every step of the way.

Are They Kids Friendly?

According to the terms of service posted on their website, the device are not usable by kids younger than 13 years of age.

I have emailed them several times to ask them why they’re neglecting such a huge market. I took to their forum to ask them why they don’t have kid friendly trackers.

Their response to my inquires is simple; they claim that they are being restricted by the online privacy law.

Most activity trackers synchronizes data online through connected app. Currently; United States law does not allow children under the age of 13 to have such online account, and as a result kids below the age of 13 cannot have an account that stores the data accumulated from the fitness tracker.

A fast way around it is to create an account on your kid’s behalf and they would be able to use the device without any issue whatsoever.

Choosing The Best Fitbit For Your Child:

Price: The best  for the price is the fitbit zip. I decided to write a detailed review of the product in this article, since it is what I recommend for kids.

Strong/Resilient: Although all their devices are properly designed to ensure durability. It’s important to take note that, kids where not considered when the products were designed, and as such, the company expects users to ensure the safety of their device since they’re adults.

A particular device do stand out for being “rugged” It’s the Flex 2. A bit stylish than the zip, keep in mind that it’s about double the price of the zip.

If you have the purse, then it’s a good tracker for the price.

Other device can also be used by kids once the parent create an account on their behalf and link it to the tracker, they are good to go.

The catch however is that, others aside the zip and flex 2 are kind of over-priced for kids. Knowing that they have the tendency of misplacing or breaking the device unintentionally.

FitBit Zip Product Review

fitbit for kids

It has four basic functions which are:

Steps Count: It is capable of recording the amount of steps taken when you wear them.

It’s fairly accurate especially for kids because it’s much more easy to calculate their step count as it is more distinct than that of adult.

So if your main aim of getting a tracker is because you want to be able to count their steps. As far as I can tell, this is the best kids fitbit in market.

Calories: Personally, I see no reason why parents should be worried about the amount of calories consumed or burned by their children. They’re young and they shouldn’t be bothered about the amount of calories consumed or used. As long as they’re feeding fine, then there is no point tracking their calorie consumption

Except in cases when the kid has a special need (Chron disease or some other types of disease that requires you to know the amount of calories consumed per day), or if the kid is obese; such that the body mass index is higher than his/her age, then it might be necessary to keep an eye on the amount of calories burned and consumed on daily basis

Distance: It is also capable of calculating the amount of distance covered while wearing it. The distance data is also fairly accurate and it’s one of the main feature that kids would be making use of the most.

Because one of the benefits of fitness tracker for kids is to get them to move more, then it would be nice to compare the distance covered on weekly basis to see if they’re actually moving more or not.

The data would help in deciding on how to motivate them the more. If your main reason for getting a fitbit for kids is to get them to be more active; then zip is a viable option.

Clock: This comes as a perk… It basically display a digital time on it’s screen. Which means it can double as a digital wrist watch as well.

Cons:

I have discussed the basic features that comes with zip, and you’re probably considering getting one for your child, just before you do; let’s look at the few cons of this device.

Wrist Band: Sadly, the Zip does not have a wrist band, it is designed as a clip-on tracker. While adults might not have an issue with this design, it is not kids friendly as  it greatly increase the chances of children misplacing it or even forgetting to use it on daily basis as required.

There is a way around this; and this is the solution.

When buying on amazon, you can also order for wristband bracelet which you can fix the device into and then be able to wear the device on your wrist like a normal wearable fitness tracker.

This solves the problem of misplacement for kids. All you have to do is fit the tracker inside the wrist band and it automatically because “wrist friendly”.

WoCase ZipBand Fitbit ZIP Accessory Wristband Bracelet

Floor Climbed: It does not acquire data for the number of floor or stairs climbed. I don’t know why parents would be interested in tracking the stairs climbed by kids, but if it happens to be one of the features you’re interested in, then a zip won’t be of value in that regard.

Sleep Quality: It does not track sleep quality and also it has no silent alarm. If you’re interested in tracking sleep quality, then you should consider getting Fitbit One Which has a silent alarm and sleep quality tracker.

Pros:

In addition to the features listed in the early part of this post; here are some of the other pros that should convince you into buying a fitbit for kids.

Synchronization: It basically functions as a kids fitness tracker even when you choose not to synchronize your data to any online platform. This is why zip is the device of choice for kids below the age of 13.

You can log your data to your personal computer or your mobile device via blue-tooth. This option provides the perfect solution for children below the age of 13 that are restricted from sharing personal data online through the enactment of the online privacy act.  All you need to keep track of your data is a computer and any other Bluetooth enabled device.

Memory: For a device that does not synchronize data to the cloud instantly, a week of data storage on the device memory itself is a huge advantage. Which means you don’t have to log your data every other day, but rather set a day to get it done, once in a week.

Display: It actively display your data on the screen. What this means is that you can keep an eye on your steps or calories as you progress through the day and actively work towards meeting your goal for the day.

Price: Many parents are concerned with the idea of buying an expensive fitness tracker for kids. However zip is the cheapest of their products. But the low price does not in anyway affect the quality of it’s functionality, so I consider it a good bargain for the money.

Step Difference: It can tell the difference between running and strolling.

In conclusion, the benefit of exercise cannot be overemphasized. Kids generally prefer to watch TV, play video games as well as surf the internet, anything that would keep them entertained indoor is just perfect for them. But this kind of lifestyle is not beneficial in the long run.

It’s been shown that kids that are more active tend to recall information more than those who are not. Exercise increase blood flow into the brain cells, which means more supply of oxygen and other vital nutrient to the brain cell resulting into their optimal functioning of the brain cells.

For children above the age of 13, teenagers and youth in general, they’re allowed to have an online account which means the online privacy act does not directly affect them.

You can go ahead and get them any of the other products, depending on your budget and the features you’re looking for in a tracking device. However, I recommend Fitbit one because it is budget friendly.

About Author:

Living a healthy live does not have to be a tug of war... We can be healthy without starving ourselves to death. Let's explore the technology side of healthy living together. Join me in my journey as I check the good, the bad and the ugliest of technology for kids and family altogether.

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