Product Testing/Review. All opinions are my own.
My son is entering middle school next year while his younger brother attends elementary school. They will be on different schedules, and I might start subbing next year. We still have a couple of months of summer to figure out commuting whether it be bussing or carpooling, etc. I would love some tips if you’d like to share them with me. I have considered letting him to walk to school and back, but I am not 100% convinced neither I nor he is ready for it. I have thought about ordering him a bus (since it is not provided for free where we live). I have thought about arming him with a mobile phone so I can reach him and check up on him when he walks home from school, but he might lose it or get hurt walking across the street while texting. I have asked other parents, and it is mixed. Some already allow their children to have phones, and others are looking into watches, but it is somewhat new to the market and we don’t know what to get. Introducing the TickTalk 2 wearable gadget option.
What is TickTalk?
Wait, is it a watch or a phone? It is both! This smart watch has simple features that allow receiving and making phone calls, sending and receiving text messages, GPS tracking, tells time, as well as setting reminders and alarms. Designed for children ages 4 to 12 years old, TickTalk was first created in 2014 by XDREAM LLC in California. We received a TickTalk 2 device for testing purposes about a month ago. Watch the informative video below for an overview how it works.
Location Tracking Feature
The location tracker is supported by Google. However, I wish to point out that the playback of the footsteps tracking didn’t always work for me, but I found out it depends on the signal. For example, if you’re at a national park where there is no WiFi or GPS signal, it will not work. Also keep in mind that it can give you a general idea when it last updated. You might have to refresh your update. If this is a feature important to you, another way you can locate your child is by simply calling them or have them call you. You’ll also have to teach them how to locate you in an emergency situation. You can also check the coverage map if you are not sure if service is available in your area. www.speedtalkmobile.com/coverageMap. Here is how they explained it to me:
“The GPS tracking runs off Google maps and tracks by public WiFi so the nearest public WiFi is what the watch will trace. If there is no WiFi available then the watch will search for a tower (LBS system) if there are none detected, it automatically switches to using GPS. The reason the watch is designed to follow those steps is because if it was always using GPS the watch battery would drain significantly faster, which would cause a whole other set of problems if you have to charge every hour or so.”
Affordable Service Plans
The phone plans are inexpensive which starts at $5 for the basic plan for texting, minutes, or data for the first 30 days (after that it charges 2 cents per text, per minute, per megabit). By the way, the first month of basic plan comes free with phone purchase, and it also comes with SIM card. There are several plans to choose from. Below are the lowest three plans. There are others on their website if you want unlimited. You can also set it up for auto pay where it reloads on its own. I started with the free one with no auto-reload for the first month to test it out. If you don’t activate the automatic feature, it will just stop working. I didn’t come across that problem, but we were also not using it heavily. I like that there are no contracts, no activation fee, and no background credit check. Even though is says T-Mobile compatible, you don’t need to go through T-Mobile or to have an account with T-Mobile. In fact, they say don’t contact T-Mobile. They use T-Mobile towers, but it is not serviced through them. It is serviced through Speed Talk Mobile. The set-up was pretty simple and easy to do. Just follow the step-by-step instructions on the card as closely as possible. You can find more information on their website here: www.speedtalkmobile.com
TickTalk 2 Set Up
Need help, watch the set up user manual below!
These wearable phones are a nice option for young children not ready for a full featured cellular phone. The design is bright and clean. It is easy to set up and easy use. The buttons are big and nicely illustrated so young kids can easily call Mom or Dad. My kids kept asking if they can download apps on it. The answer is, No. The monthly service plan is affordable (as low as $5) after the initial investment of the phone. (Prices vary.) After testing it off and on for several weeks, I give it a Yes for functionality and design. The hardest part is creating a routine so the children remembers to charge it every night. We are still trying to figure out the best placement. Maybe they will remember it by their toothbrush? The GPS tracking might not be accurate depending on the WiFi strength in the area. I still think it is a better solution than none for safety reasons. For example, if we were at an amusement park and my child is lost, I can call him and communicate with him that way. There might be a small learning curb to teach them how to use it in emergency situations. Another thing I hope they will add is a vibrating option so that the ringers are not going off during class.
TIP: Teach them how to use the volume feature so that it is not ringing during class. They can turn it back on when they are not in school. Hopefully, they will add a vibrating option.
For more information about this product or to see what options they offer, please visit their website at www.myticktalk.com.