Here at ParentShield we supply loads of SIM cards for Kids Phone Watches. A watch-phone is a popular choice for a child’s first phone. Particularly so for younger children who may be considered likely to lose a regular mobile phone on the first day of term!
We thought it might be useful to run through a few topics that regularly come up in discussions with parents about their child’s phone watch.
Choosing the right watch-phone for your child
There are a lot of phone watches on the market so it’s worth looking around carefully. We can say with a fair degree of confidence that the watches we see at the lower end of the price spectrum do tend to be troublesome, and although the website might promise a whole pile of exciting features, getting them to work, and stay working reliably is often difficult. Many are designed for asian markets and don’t work nicely with European Satellites or phone networks.
How much does a child’s phone watch cost?
We see phone watches starting from as little as £15 and going up all the way to a kid’s Apple Watch with all the bells and whistles for up to £700. Realistically, for a first phone alternative and a primary-school-age phone watch you will be looking at £100 to £150 for a reliable well-made device that won’t end up failing and discarded quite quickly. Above that bracket you’re looking at something closer to an adult’s Smart Watch, which would do the trick but possibly not ideal for a younger child.
“We see phone watches starting from as little as £15 and going up all the way to a kid’s Apple Watch with all the bells and whistles for up to £700.”— ParentShield Support
We’ll have a scout across the Internet and put a panel down below with a few things that we find. We’re a mobile network, and while we will easily supply a SIM card to go in a smart watch, the hardware is a different choice altogether.
Get a SIM for the watch phone
All kids phonewatches will need some sort of connection to the outside world in order to be contactable and tracked using GPS geolocation. This will usually be a SIM card provided by a mobile network such as ParentShield. Every phone-watch will be different, so there will be a few things to check in the watch manufacturer’s literature to ensure that you get the right SIM for the child’s watch.
2G, 3G or 4G?
Every GSM ( that’s the mobile network type that we have in the UK ) phone watch will have to support one or more of these signal types.
It’s important to consider when matching a SIM against a phone watch, that the SIM will support the network type the watch can handle.
ParentShield SIM cards will support all three protocols, so there is no issue there. It’s not the same with all networks however, as Three ( see also Smarty and IDmobile as they use Three’s signals ) doesn’t have a 2G network. So if it’s a 2G watch, getting a SIM that only works on 3G and 4G will cause a problem!
Isn’t 2G being phased out?
It will be, but ironically it’s more likely that 3G will go first. 2G us used in a lot of “IoT” devices – that’s the “internet of things” and includes everything these days from your fridge to the lamp-post outside your house and even some smart wheelie-bins!
2G also has the best frequency for bending around buildings and getting inside others, so it’s likely to live on to keep talking to your composting bin for another 10 years or so. The Major networks are planning to retire 3G well before then.
Not that it’s likely your child’s phone watch will survive that long, but it’s worth bearing in mind.
Physical SIM or eSIM
Most watches will list on the documentation whether the device will take a ‘normal’ SIM card, or an eSIM. eSIM are the newer generation ‘virtual’ SIM cards that you activate by scanning a barcode or entering a number.
ParentShield currently only supplies ‘conventional’ SIM cards, but eSIM are under development so if you’re reading this in the future, contact us!
To make matters even more interesting, SIM cards come in 3 sizes, Full-size, Micro and Nano. ParentShield SIM cards are the clever ‘universal’ type that will press out to any of those sizes, so if it’s a physical SIM you need, for a ParentShield SIM, this isn’t something to worry about.
Data-Only SIM or Data Plus Calls and Texts
Some watch-phones are designed to use Data only. With calls and messaging being done using ‘VOIP’ – Voice over IP and not using the regular Cellular Voice and SMS capability.
ParentShield SIM cards will work in both types.
Moving back onto a regular phone
Something to bear in mind is the point where you feel you may need to move from a kids phone watch to a kids phone. It’s important that you’re free to do that, so possibly be weary of long contract periods when considering either the watch, or the SIM.
The SIM size may be different, so you might need to use a SIM Adapter ( you can pick them up from any phone shop ) or have your SIM provider send you a new SIM. ParentShield does this every day, and we don’t charge for SIM Swaps – be it a lost phone or a lost watch.
We have a separate blog entry discussing the right phone for a child’s age so please do head over there and check that out.
A topic we often hear is the battery life on a phone watch. It’s sometimes difficult to remember to regularly charge devices – this is a skill that needs to be learned – so battery life of the phone watch is something to find in the documentation. Whatever it says, halve it!
Child’s Phone watch FAQ
You’re looking at something from £25 up to £170 typically. We advise checking this guide and the specifications carefully, as cheaper watches sold online are often incompatible with UK infrastructure
Yes – you can have the all-network roaming and advanced blocking and monitoring capabilities of ParentShield with any GSM smartwatch that takes a physical ( not eSIM ) SIM.
For the UK you will need a GSM Watch. CDMA is the standard that is used in many parts of the Americas.
We hope this guide has been useful. If you’re unsure about whether a regular phone a watch-phone is the way to go for you, please do call us on 03301221180 and we’ll do our best to help!