Apple Watch SE for kids: Family Setup and Schooltime

Apple watches aren’t just for grown-ups. While kids might not be able to use all of the features, or have access to certain apps, the Apple Watch SE does have a number of features that would make it useful for kids. Especially for kids who are just about old enough to start using a smart phone, but still too young to carry around a phone that can make calls.

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Apple Watch SE for kids - Family Setup and Schooltime

For parents, there are some nice conveniences that come with getting your child an Apple watch. You can keep track of their location and get notifications if they leave school without permission, or if they go somewhere they aren’t supposed to (like the corner store while they’re grounded).

But I’ve found that the best part is being able to communicate with my nephew whenever we both have our watches charged up and connected to our phones. I can text him reminders about when he needs to be home from school, or send him encouragement when he’s struggling with something at school or with his friends. He can call me if he needs any help.

>> Also, find out which are the best Phones for Kids and recommended camera for kids.

Activity rings have been optimised for kids.
Activity rings have been optimised for kids.

When my nephew came over, I opened Family Sharing on my iPhone and added him. He got an Apple Watch SE.

He’s 12, so the idea of an Apple Watch was new to him, but he quickly figured out how to use it. He knew, he could ping me and I’d get a notification on my watch—and vice versa. When he wanted to share our day by sending me a picture or a drawing over iMessages, he went to the photo gallery on his watch and chose the photo or drawing he wanted to send. Then he pressed the send icon and I got a notification that he was sharing with me. Once I opened up the message, I could view the photo or drawing right there.

The new Apple Watch Series SE also has cellular capability built in, so now kids can communicate with their parents (or other family members) when they’re not near their phone.

Family Setup and optimised features for kids

Family Sharing lets you easily share your favorite apps and content, as well as location information in this special kid’s profile. Just go to the Watch section in your iPhone’s Settings app, and tap Profiles > Family Sharing. From there, tap Add Family Member.

Open family sharing

You’ll be prompted to give permission for your child’s data to be shared by everyone else in your family group. Tap Continue, read through the information about letting other members of the family see your child’s location, and tap Agree. Once your child is added to the family group, you can use the new Watch app on their phone to choose which apps they have access to from their watch.

Another great feature for young people is Guided Access, that lets them lock into one app or a selection of single buttons at a time. When they’re done using it, they just need to swipe up from the bottom of the face, and they’ll get a button asking if they want to exit Guided Access mode.

invite family-create-child-account-apple-watch

You’ll be able to see their call history, know who they’re talking to, and approve each contact. Your kids will also be able to create custom Memoji faces on their Apple Watch just like the ones you can make on your iPhone or iPad. Your kids will be able to connect with friends and family through FaceTime audio calls or FaceTime video calls. They’ll also receive notifications from apps they use often that are built in Messages, such as weather updates or airline itineraries. Activity goals can be set up for them too. If they meet their daily goal, you get a notification so you can offer encouragement.

Privacy, Security and Location tracking

The Apple Watch SE is a fantastic way to give your kids access to the same technology you rely on for health, safety, and independence. With an Apple Watch, your children can stay connected to their family and friends, and Maps, Siri, Alarms and the App Store can provide them with even more independence than ever before. 

Whether they’re playing at the park or exploring their neighborhood, parents will have peace of mind knowing they can reach their child and identify their location, as well as get help from emergency services if needed. With Family Sharing nearby you’ll be able to share reminders, calendar events and photos with your loved ones. So whether it’s time for school or playtime with friends, your child can stay connected to those that matter most.

One of the best features of the Apple Watch for kids is that it lets parents keep their children in reach. It has an SOS feature that allows kids to quickly and easily call for help with just one tap on the screen. The watch will immediately start ringing and send notifications to parents’ phones, as well as anyone else whom they have designated as a contact. Parents can respond from their phones or from any other device that supports Apple’s Find My Friends app.

Audio Calls and Messaging

It’s even possible to use the watch without an iPhone—a feature that may be particularly appealing to kids, who aren’t likely to have their own smartphone yet (and probably won’t for a while, since Apple doesn’t even make child-sized iPhones). The watch comes with a special app called “Walkie-Talkie” that can be used to send quick audio messages between kids and parents.

Memoji app in watchOS 7 lets kids personalise messages

The best way to contact your kid from your own phone is via Family Sharing’s “Apple Cash.” This allows parents to set up an iTunes Allowance for their kid and give them cash for the things they want by adding funds directly from their credit card or bank account. Kids can then use the money in their allowance however they want, including in-app purchases from the App Store on the Apple Watch. It’s a great way for parents to feel secure about giving their kids access to the internet and apps.

With the combination of hardware and software features that are unique to the Apple Watch, you may find that the watch is just what you need to help nurture your child’s creativity or develop their interest in music or sports.

Schooltime and Downtime

Schooltime mode signifies to parents and teachers that access to apps is restricted
Schooltime mode signifies to parents and teachers that access to apps is restricted

Schooltime is intended for use by teachers or parents who have children in school, where they are expected to be attentive during certain hours of the day. When the watch has been configured to enter Schooltime mode during those hours, it will automatically enable Do Not Disturb and turn on a special yellow watch face that is designed specifically for the classroom environment. 

Teachers or parents can then set up what apps are allowed while Schooltime is enabled on their child’s iPhone. The rest of the apps won’t be available until after the schedule ends, which can be changed easily from Control Centre on your child’s watch or from within the parent app on your iPhone.

Downtime is meant as a way to foster good sleeping habits for your child when they’re going to bed for the night.