The goal: to use the devices as a stopgap cellphone for the kids. With the watch’s cellular abilities, parents can use it to reach and track their children, while the miniature screens mitigate issues like internet addiction.
Children and teenagers appear to have become a disproportionately large market for smartwatches as a whole. In a 2020 survey of American teenagers by the investment bank Piper Sandler, 31% said they owned a smartwatch. That same year, 21% of adults in the United States said they owned one, according to the Pew Research Center.
The use of smartwatches as a children’s gadget shows how the audience for a consumer technology product can morph in unexpected ways. It has also given new life to the Apple Watch, which was unveiled in 2015 and has been variously positioned as a fitness tracker, a style statement or a way to free yourself from an iPhone.
Apple has deliberately turned the watch into a device that can be attractive for children and their parents. In 2020, the company released the Apple Watch SE, which had fewer features than a premium model and was priced $120 cheaper. Apple also introduced Family Setup, software that let parents track their children’s locations, manage their contacts list and limit their notifications.
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