As a kid we never had phones, so this is un­charted ter­ri­tory

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - FRONT PAGE -

Alex Bruce and Naomi Ham­mond bought their el­dest son, Hugo, 9, a Tic Toc Track watch for his birth­day. Alex says: Hugo wanted a phone but we weren’t ready to give him the full re­spon­si­bil­ity that comes with own­ing a phone. I didn’t like the idea he could surf the net and play with apps wher­ever he went. And we also didn’t like the idea any­one could con­tact him di­rectly.

So, we got him the Tic Toc Track watch and the thing I love about it most is that it gives me peace of mind when Hugo’s not with ei­ther of us. And it has re­sulted in Hugo hav­ing more free­dom than he oth­er­wise would at his age. For ex­am­ple, he does an after school work­shop in ro­bot­ics and after­wards he and a friend walk home to the friend’s house. We’ll also let him go to the ser­vice sta­tion to buy some­thing and if we’re at the mar­kets or some­thing, we’ll let him have a wan­der on his own.

You can set the watch up so only a few pre-pro­grammed num­bers can call him and there’s only a few num­bers he can call out or send mes­sages to. And he doesn’t have it on ev­ery day, just on the days he’ll need it, like if he’s walk­ing home from school or some­thing.

We don’t want to keep such a tight rein, but we also don’t want to just let him go al­to­gether. The watch helps us find a good bal­ance. I see this as a step­ping stone to when he gets a phone, prob­a­bly when he starts high school. And by then, we will prob­a­bly pass it on to his sis­ter, who is 18 months younger than him.

As a kid, we never had phones, so now as a par­ent this is all un­charted ter­ri­tory. I hear the com­ments about Big Brother watch­ing ev­ery­thing we do and over-mon­i­tor­ing, but all par­ents who see the watch think it’s bril­liant. Ul­ti­mately, they’re your child and so you’re wholly re­spon­si­ble for them, so I think it’s OK for us to min­imise the risk of dan­ger.

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