The New Fitbit for Kids Can Be Empowering, If Used Correctly
Experts say the Fitbit Ace, available later this year, should only be used as a tool to help your child be more mindful about health and fitness.
Fitbit, the global wearable fitness company, is expanding their product line to include options for the entire family—even your kids! The Fitbit Ace is designed for kids 8 and up, will come in two different colors (a bright purple and a vibrant blue) and retail for $99.95.
“As childhood obesity rates continue to rise, it’s more important than ever to empower the entire family to embrace a healthy and more active lifestyle,” says James Park, CEO and co-founder of Fitbit, in a press release. But does activity data so easily accessible pose a risk to your child’s mental and physical health? Not if you use it correctly.
“For many kids, the notion of exercise and activity level can be ambiguous, so when they see the number of steps they’ve taken, they become more aware of their movement,” says Susan Albers, Psy.D., author of Eating Mindfully for Teens. “What’s important to remember is that a fitness tracker should be a tool to help your child be more mindful—and not a device to add shame or guilt.”
To keep fitness tracking healthy (and enjoyable), Dr. Albers suggests focusing on progress rather than calories, which can foster an unhealthy relationship with food. You should also try to get the whole family to participate in fitness tracking. “Using them in a group makes comparing steps a fun family activity,” she says. “At dinner, go around the table and have each person do a check in on their step count that day!”
The Fitbit Ace is automatically set up to track step count, active minutes, and sleep—you’ll notice it doesn’t track calories. It also doesn’t connect to Fitbit’s social network, which means your kid’s data won’t be publically shared. Parents have access to the Fitbit family account where they can check up on activity progress, and eventually approve friend requests from other family members or trusted friends. If your child has her own smartphone and wants to use the Fitbit app, parents can use the family account to activate the child view settings and limit the data she can see when she logs on.
We love that the device is waterproof (because what kid doesn’t spill?) and has up to five days of battery life. It’s available for presale today, though it won’t be in stores until spring of this year.