Gabb Watch for 5yo (parent control text & call no internet)

Hello parents, do any of you have experience with the Gabb watch for young children? It is a parent controlled smart watch with a cellular plan for text and calls, no internet. My son is 5.5, finishing kindergarten, and going to 2 or 3 day camps this summer. In case of emergency/ he needs to contact us I want him to be able to have his own device. I am an anxious mom. I am preparing him on safety.


Is the watch worth it? Did it calm your anxiety or prove a useful tool? Is this too much for a 5yo? What have you done?

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My 11 year old has a gabb watch. It works for what we need from it - he calls us if he wants to skip swim practice or asks us to bring him a snack. The location tracking feature is glitchy. I would definitely not get it to track location and it would be huge and ridiculous on a 5.5 year olds wrist. It looks pretty big on my 11 year old's wrist as well.

My 6 year old had one because SHE was anxious and wanted a way to reach me. Texting option works great. GPS - not so much. I would not necessarily recommend this if you are using it to reduce your anxiety because of the spottiness with the GPS. 

I say this as a parent who sent both of my kids to summer camps all summer long for about ten years - in case of emergency, the camp director will call you. Your child doesn't need to. They will put your child on the phone so you can talk to him. He doesn't need this watch at this age. 

I cannot imagine ANY scenario where a 5 year old would need a smart watch. In case of an "emergency", the camps will communicate with you. If you are running late to pick up or your kid forgot his lunch, you should call the camp directly or the camp will call you directly. I am an elementary school teacher and I do not allow my students to have these watches at all. You mentioned that you have anxiety - training your kid to use a watch like this and always be within "an arm's reach" is literally passing your anxiety on to him.  Let him go to camp and enjoy being on his own and trust that the camp is safe and will be in touch with you if there is a need. By giving him a watch like this, you are telling him that he won't be safe without it, that you can't handle him being away from you, that only you can solve his problems etc. Don't do it.  

No watch! 
The camps for this and all age population are prepared for any problems and have seen it all. If there is an emergency involving your kiddo, camp leadership will reach out to you immediately. In fact, it is imperative that they be the point person between you and your kiddo during camp for legal and practical reasons.  I’m sure devices are not even allowed during camp hours and would be collected first thing. 
It would be better for you to be able to check in with camp staff to soothe your anxiety. Also, your kiddo needs to learn that other responsible grownups can take care of him. Same true with kindergarten and beyond! Good Luck with this big step of letting go!

(Mine is 16.5 and driving and I’m freaking out. Letting go is still hard!)

I got my 11yo a smart watch simply because he began traveling to/from middle school alone. I personally would not get one for a younger child unless they were traveling to/from camps alone. Like another commenter said, the tracking feature does not always update, so you may be seeing where your child was 20 minutes ago. 

I’m not sure what kind of emergencies you’re anticipating, but camps have numbers to call if you need them to find your child in a true emergency. As someone who works in elementary schools, I’ll say that smart watches on young children are always a distraction, both for the child wearing them and other children. 

As someone who has worked at day camps think a Gabb watch is necessary and potentially problematic for a 5 year old at day camp.   Being the one to contact you in an emergency is too much responsibility for your little person.  He may have trouble distinguishing between real emergency and  "things are not going my way and I want to call mom."  This can set up all sorts of trouble for the camp.  Trust the adults to contact  you in case of emergency and to help your son out if he is having difficulty.   Save the watch for later when he is older and ready to go off with his friends. 

I am a classroom teacher and also a parent who's child goes to a variety of camps over the summer. I want to encourage you to use the camp communication channels, and to encourage your child to do so, too, if you think he will need to contact you. I've always been able to get a hold of someone at the camps my kid has attended. For your child's safety, it is really important that the adult responsible for him knows what's going on. 

With that said, a friend uses a GPS tracker (I think Apple AirTag) that's clipped onto her kid's shoe laces whenever they travel, go to amusement parks, etc. Her kid is a wanderer and she finds that as long as she has a way of locating him, she has peace of mind.

Hi, we sent our son to summer camp at the same age as your son. I do not believe you need to get your son a gadget like this as the camp will definitely be able to get in touch with you if they or your son needs that. My advice would be to wait as long as possible to get your child a gadget, even if it is just for calls and texts. Most of us thrived without this kind of contact with our parents- it’s a great sense of freedom for our kids to be untethered by gadgets. 

When your child is in day camp, there are adults who will be responsible for them and would contact you/parents in case of emergency. Highly advising no calling/texting device at such a young age.  

Thank you all for reminding me not to pass my anxiety onto my child! The points about too much responsibility for a 5yo really hit home. Thank you!