I never realized how heavily connected my toddler would become to technology. With all the different types of smart devices our kids interact with on a daily basis, I hope that some of them provide some value. The Octopus by Joy smartwatch for kids may just be that piece of tech, as it helps them create good habits. My son and I had a whole lot of fun reviewing this watch and it’s available at BestBuy.ca.
What does the Octopus watch do?
The basic concept of the Octopus is to introduce daily habits like getting dressed, brushing teeth, bathing and helping with dinner. The watch does this by sending alerts in the form of understandable icons to help encourage these good habits. The watches come in fun bright colours and the fun shaped companion dock also doubles as a night-light.
I do want to mention, that it took my son a few days to really give this watch a try. But as soon as he realized it was like a mini-computer, he thought it was super neat. Before I get further into the details of the watch, I should mention what’s included in the box:
- The watch
- A charging cable
- An electrical plug adaptor
- The “octopus” charging station
- Information booklet
Easy and Fun Learning
The watch not only tells time, but it also sends alerts via vibration. The icons for each “habit” are all very easy to understand. For example, an icon of a toothbrush and paste for “brushing teeth”, a fork and spoon for “food time”. You can pick your own from over 300 icons to choose from and additional icons can be downloaded when you sign up with a paid membership. To be honest I think the icons they offer up for free are all you need!
When my son heard one of the alerts and saw the “fork and spoon” icon for the first time, he squealed, “mummy, it’s food time!” Now, having said that, you also have to be prepared for some push back. We had a few nights when the “brush teeth and bedtime ” icons popped up and he became very upset because he wasn’t ready for bed.
There are three different modes you can set the watch at, depending on the development of your children. The first mode displays a simple digital clock with an icon, the second is just the digital display and the third is an analog display. Having the three options will allow your child to learn the concept of time in a simple digestible way. At their own pace, you can move them along each time telling stage.
Don’t Worry, There are Security Features
The Octopus watch features an app for Smartphone or tablet and is compatible with both Android and iOS. I’m a Samsung mobile phone user and easily downloaded the app on Google Play. This is the first step to setting up the initial schedule and it requires syncing Octopus with your device. To start off, you are given a pre-set schedule of things in a day.
From the app, you can easily add and delete tasks and assign whichever icon you think fits and set the time. Once you get one day sorted you can repeat them for the rest of the week. There are also options for vibration upon the alert and if you set the validation function, the alarm, your child needs to set it off. Once all the tasks are set in the app, you sync up with the Octopus watch and you are set to go.
As with anything to do with our children, security features are of course in place. Since I was the one who set the watch up, I have final authority on any device that is synced to my child’s Octopus watch and this is done with a secure username and password. Bluetooth features are only accessible for a few seconds while you sync the watch and you have to dock and undock the watch from the Octopus night light companion to do so. You also have the option to enter an “in case of emergency (ICE)” information on the watch which is a great nice to have feature.
Tracking Rewards and Progress
As a small child, I used to get star stickers in school when I completed a task or finished up a chore. At the end of the week, the kid with the most stars got a little prize! I remember it being very rewarding and satisfying.
The Octopus watch offers features that are very similar. There is a rewards system; when my son completes one of his tasks during the day, I can go into the app and give him a “star”. If movement is one of your goals as a family, you can also track your child’s steps. You can make this into a fun game so they stay engaged and interested.
Now, I didn’t get to this point while we were using it but there is also a progress tracking system. You can track your child’s progress and you can see where they are strongest and where they need some improvement. From time to time when I launch the app, I received a “pop up” screen that provides me with some tips and information on how I can utilize the Octopus watch best. (FYI, you can pause these anytime).
Design and Durability
As a parent, I know how rough my kid can be on his stuff. Rest assured this watch is made with a very durable silicone that is water-resistant and will protect the internal electronics from damage and moisture. However, I do need to mention that this does not mean that the entire watch is waterproof. It can withstand some rain but be sure not to submerge the watch underwater for long periods of time. The battery life on this watch is fantastic. On one full charge, the watch can go about 90+ hours. The watch lasts 5 days before I have to charge it up again.
At the End of the Day
Technology is something that is not going away anytime soon. Although the Octopus watch may seem a bit over the top, it does have some really fun and easy to implement features. It all really comes down to your kid. Like mine, they can be finicky and very particular with their stuff. It took me a few tries to get my son to give it try. But like anything, it took some repetitive behaviour to create the habit and the Octopus watch helped by assisting with a few daily life routines.