Should You Buy Your Kids an Activity Tracker?

Activity Trackers are THE piece of wearable tech at the moment. Everyone is becoming more aware of the need to be active to stay healthy. Introducing a Fitbit into a relationship is a statement of intent – an intrinsic challenge to your partner: how many daily steps can you do? But what happens if you introduce an Activity Tracker for your children to wear? How will they react? Is it right? Can you keep up?

What does a Fitness Tracker do?

Activity trackers are a means of measuring how active you are as opposed to how much time you spend sitting around and relaxing. Every time you make a move, the ticker ticks on and you can track your progress throughout each day. The aim is to get the equivalent of half an hour each day of serious physical activity – something like 10,000 steps each day is a viable target for an adult.

When you are a parent, one of your main concerns is to ensure your children live a healthy life style and that they live it right. Activity trackers can’t do anything for moral fibre or for a sense of right and wrong! But what they can do is help encourage a physically healthy way of living. Healthy bodies will result in a healthy mind. Get your kids in to the habit of being active and they will continue to keep up a sensible level of activity as they grow in to adulthood – that’s the basis of the argument, here.

Is a Tracker Suitable for Kids?

There are now a wide range of activity trackers (read this guide) that are designed to be attractive for children. There is such a range of designs and styles available that you can certainly find one that will be appropriate for your own kids. Their age, gender and current lifestyle can be reflected in the tracker that you choose. You’ll also be able to work with them to monitor how active they are through appropriate connected web applications. If you allow them to, and if they wish, they’ll also be able to introduce an element of competition with their friends and other members of their family. There’s no doubt you’ll be able to find a suitable tracker and web site to suit your family.

Will Healthy Habits Survive?

The real topic at issue is whether there are long-term health benefits to be gained from using an activity tracker. This type of tech is way too young to be proven. It hasn’t been around long enough for childhood-wearers to have grown into adults. But we can make predictions based on what has happened with other technologies and what we can see from how our kids behave.

Kids are really good at picking up on an idea and running with it. Fire their enthusiasm and there is no stopping them. Whether they get interested in soccer or My Little Pony; Thunderbirds or ice hockey; baseball or baseball stickers nobody gets more excited than an engaged child. The trick is to make that enthusiasm last. This is where studies in general human behavior come in to play.

We know that a child’s interests wax and wane: childish things get put away as they grow and develop. But we do know that when it comes to physical activity, the body produces chemicals which encourage repetition and “addiction” to activity. It’s one of those healthy addictions.

How Do You Get them Started?

One sure-fire way to get your kids hooked on something is if they know they can beat their mum and dad at something. Counting steps is usually one of those things where kids can out-step their parents. So, one way to encourage participation is to present the activity tracker as a challenge. Get one for yourselves and for your kids and watch them thrive on getting one up on their mum and dad.

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