gelLabs: youth wearables– what’s out there: gps trackers

Wearable technology for youth is a rapidly growing category, especially those whose main purpose is providing safety extensions to children of concerned parents via GPS technology. Here, we highlight some of our favorites!


The Filip is one of the coolest kid-specific wearables out. The design is sleek, fun, and absolutely gorgeous. But beyond that, it truly is a (time) piece of mind. Parents can communicate with and keep track of their children and vice versa in a relatively unobtrusive way. It wears as a watch, but packs a serious technological punch! The Filip works as a phone: It allows your child to have up to 5 numbers saved within the device. Calling and receiving calls to and from these select numbers is as easy as the touch of a button. Parents can send short text messages. The Filip also comes with a GPS feature. Parents can both monitor and call/text their little one from the convenience of their iphone or android.

Filip is accompanied by an application that parents download. Within the app, parents can even manually set “safe zones” that they designate. Once their kid goes beyond the safe zone, the parent is alerted. Kids can also communicate with parents in the event of an emergency. The Filip has 2 buttons, one for calls that is the same color as the device, and the red button. When a child presses the red button for 3 seconds in an emergency, the Filip will initiate a call to the primary account holder (usually the parent). If that person doesn’t pick up, the Filip continues dialing through the set number list until someone answers. It also initiates call recording so that each and every message and sound is actively recorded. Lastly, the Filip updates its location every 60 seconds until the emergency is canceled.


LG’s new Kizon wearable wrist-band allows parents to both track the location of their children AND actually hear exactly what is going on in the environment they are in. The device employs GPS and Wi-Fi to determine the wearer’s location in relation to the guardian and allows for a child to call a pre-configured telephone number with the push of a button. Tracking is monitored via the parent’s Android app. LG reasons that their “aim is to help parents of preschool and primary school children track the movements of their child, especially as they walk to and from school.”

The GPS and phone capabilities of this wearable device are not anything new at this point. Loads of people are hopping on board with this trend. The more interesting piece is the built-in microphone that allows parents to hear the child’s surroundings. There are obvious concerns regarding privacy that have already been brought to light by many privacy groups. If the child is around you, nothing you say is confidential—no matter who or where you are. There is also the criticism of whether the device will actually provide the security that LG intended… For instance, does the device simply provide a false sense of security? Environmental sounds can be easily manipulated. Regardless of a device such as this, or any device meant to keep children safe with GPS or microphone capabilities in general, children must first and foremost be taught about how to handle environmental dangers practically—especially “stranger danger.”

There is also the concern of whether it is ethical to infringe upon the child’s rights of independence: is it right to trace a child as they carry out their daily tasks? How would the child develop and learn problem-solving if they know that there is always someone watching over them, protecting them? Rather than put ease to the security of their children, parents may actually be increasing security concerns.
Nivea’s “Protector Ad”

Folks at Nivea are absolutely brilliant! In Brazil, the beaches are one of the most popular pastime locations for both tourists and natives alike. One of our designers comes from Brazil, and she can personally attest to the fact that Brazil’s beach madness is something that is absolutely uncontestable. For any parent, that is beyond scary. You just want to make sure your child is safe. Having the vast ocean and the threat of sunburn as worries are enough; overcrowding, losing your kid, or having them kidnapped tips the scale. For some, the beach can lose its enjoyment factor based on the risks alone.

Nivea is known for their body lotions and creams, as well as their sunblock. They’ve made it their personal mission to protect the skin of children literally, and now they’ve taken this protection even further with the Wearable Tech ad they launched, featured here: . The magazine ad comes with a wearable technology bracelet strip that is a part of the ad itself. You rip is out and place it around the wrist of your child. What it essentially does is act as a homing device while your child frolics around the beach. It monitors the child’s exact location in relation to the guardian, and monitors the direction of movement as they are wearing the ad bracelet. Guardians can set boundary alarms and do real-time monitoring all from their smart phone. The best part about this project: they’re practically giving this technology away—for the minimal price of the magazine anyway. Way to go Nivea! We dig this a lot!
Yet another wearable wrist-band that boasts great design for kids, and piece of mind for parents. Kidsport prides themselves on the comfort, style, size varieties, and durability. This band, like many others, comes with and alert button that is easily accessible and used by your child in case of emergency. Unlike some other bands out there though, Kidsport wristbands have a security latch that they claim is quite difficult for the child to remove, and if in fact they do remove it, there is a removal alert that is sounded both on the band and in the parent’s accompanying app. One of the more unique aspects of this product is its precision and clarity of exactly locating your child at any given moment. Via the app, parents can see the live street view as projected by the band. They are shown EXACTLY where their children are, down to the house color and street number they are passing. In their advertising collateral, they highlight the specific benefit of such a band to children who suffer from autism, as these children are prone to wandering away from safe environments.

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