We’ve had our Gabb phone and Gabb watches for a few months for our 3 older kiddos. My oldest, who just turned 11, primarily uses the phone and my next two (just turned 9 and almost 7) use the watches. They’ve been a great way for us to connect without having them on devices constantly.
What are the Gabb devices?
The Gabb devices are built for kids to stay connected without any of the problematic aspects of another device. Both the Gabb phones and the Gabb watches allow kids to call and text pre-programmed numbers, and have GPS tracking. But beyond that, there are no games, no Internet, no social media. Just the basics!
Why purchase a Gabb device?
For us, we waffled for a long time on whether it was worthwhile to get these devices. Since my oldest is only in 5th grade, I didn’t strongly felt like we needed a device yet.
And if I’m being perfectly honest, I DON’T feel like we super need them yet. It’s rare that my kids need to contact me when away from home, and it’s worked just fine so far to have pre-planned pickup times. I can count on one hand (actually, on 2 fingers) the number of times my kids have had to go to the school office or ask another parent to give me a call.
That said, it’s been a surprisingly fun way to connect with my oldest in particular. We’ll occasionally send each other emojis or he texted me his list of books he wanted to find at the library. It’s another nice point of contact as he grows into his tween years.
How much time do they spend on devices?
My kids honestly hardly use their devices. My oldest uses his the most for a couple texts a week. Hardly any of his friends have phones so it hasn’t been a way to connect with them so far. I’m sure that’s different for different kids and situations.
My other two have used their watches a few times, but it also hasn’t been a huge thing.
What IS nice is when one of my older kids wants to go out to a friend’s backyard to play and I can send them and ask me to text from there, instead of coordinating with the other parent in advance. It allows them a little more independence and lets them take responsibility. I love giving them that freedom and am planning to push them to take advantage of it more in the next few months. It’s a great learning opportunity!
Overall, I honestly LOVE that they’re really not motivated to just sit on their devices. Instead, they use them for functional, useful purposes and put them away. They become tools instead of entertainment.
Best age for a Gabb phone or watch
While this varies a lot by child and by community, my guess is late elementary to early middle school would be the perfect age for a lot of kids. That’s the time when they’re getting old enough to start playing in the neighborhood on their own a bit. This allows them to take charge of their friendships a bit more.
It also allows them to connect with parents after sports, activities, etc. for coordinating timing. I love that they can let me know if they want to stay longer somewhere or if a team activity is happening!
When purchasing a Gabb device for that age group, I personally would choose the watch over the phone. The watch has all the functionalities that we personally need (talk, text, GPS to keep an eye when they’re walking home from school), and has a lower service cost than the phone. Simple! Since the phone has a camera for taking photos and also can connect to Bluetooth, I think it’s great for later elementary school and early high school.
Would I purchase a Gabb device again?
I would 100% purchase a Gabb device for a child who needs a way of connecting with family or friends for whatever reason – pickup scheduling, playdate coordination, etc.
That said, I wouldn’t necessarily purchase one for my almost-7 year old. First grade seems young for it, and he really has no need for it. I think for my kids and our particular family/school/neighborhood situation, I’d wait until between 4th-6th grade to purchase either the phone or the watch. But when looking for a way for kids to talk and text on an as-needed basis, I truly think there’s no better option than the Gabb watch or Gabb phone.
What do you do in your family? I’d love to hear what works for you and what your needs are!
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