Spark New Zealand Unveils SPACETALK – kids watch that phones home

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Technology and the way it’s shaping our lives is constantly evolving; from the way we shop, to how we work, are entertained and even eat.

SPACETALK is a kids all-in-one smartphone, watch and GPS driven by Spark that could transform the way parent, and in turn, how children interact with parents.

The kids watch is designed for children aged 5-12 years who are becoming more independent but are not yet ready for a full functioning, expensive smartphone. The watch is equipped with a wide range of practical features including the ability to stay connected throughout the day via SMS, voice messages, calls and interactive emojis.

Spark’s Digital Services Lead, Michael Stribling says that a recent study conducted by Spark found that nearly 90% of parents wanted to keep connected with their children, to ensure they were safe when they weren’t around.

“Through the study we were surprised to find that there is actually a fundamental need for parents to feel closer and more connected to their children. It’s the simple things – like wishing your child good luck for rugby practice or saying goodnight when they stay at their grandparent’s house. It’s about creating more meaningful moments when time together can be limited.”

Whilst the ability to stay in touch is a huge element of what makes the kids watch appealing, it was also found that 75% of Kiwi parents are concerned about their child’s safety on a day-to-day basis, and over half of them agree that technology can be used to keep their child safe.

Fitted with a GPS locator, the SPACETALK watch means parents can have greater confidence of their child’s whereabouts in scenarios like arriving safely home from school or keeping an eye on them during a special outing such as a theme park or trip to the zoo.

This is further enhanced with the ability for parents to set pre-defined safety zones. Parents are alerted if their child moves in or out of the designated space, and children can press an SOS button to alert their parents in emergency situations.

SPACETALK’s CEO, Mark Fortunatow says that modern families are busier than ever and that for parents, worrying about their child is often just second-nature.

“As children grow older they are usually given more freedom to roam independently, and often have a smartphone. The real gap is the children in the middle, and that’s where we believe SPACETALK provides the solution – combining all the functions parents love in a smartphone without the price or dangers associated with social media, open internet and apps.”

The watch is paired with Spark’s specially designed $7.99 Pay Monthly Smart Plan, giving children the ability to use data and calls to stay connected.

In order for parents to be able to have full control, the entire management of the watch is run through an app, for which a subscription also needs to be purchased.

Through the app parents can set an approved contact list so strangers cannot connect with the child and the child isn’t able to connect with anyone the parent hasn’t approved. In addition to setting safety zones, reminders, and keeping track of both fitness and wearabouts of the child, it also provides the ability to deactivate features in times when children can’t be distracted – like at school.

While the watch and the child’s number is with Spark, parents can be with any network provider and are able to stop the Smart Plan by providing 30 days notice. There are no cancellation fees.