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