How active is my child each day? Do they really reach the recommended one hour of physical activity when they are at school for so long? Is a fitness tracker even appropriate for children? Here are our thoughts:
When we first met Reima in Berlin, we were not really sure what to think about this new trend in fitness tracking for children. You may have noticed that they are not the only firm to latch onto this new trend. As a parent it does leave a weird taste in your mouth. It also throws up a few questions.
Is This Safe?
For me the biggest immediate question is of security. Everyone wants to know what is happening with their data and we know that despite the very best efforts, nothing online is 100% safe. So how would this data about our children and their activity be used? Are they being tracked? Analyzed? Followed? Dark shadows of fear start collecting, but thankfully I was able to get answers to these questions. No, there isn’t a sender or GPS and no, there isn’t data being sent all day long. Ok, I relaxed a little. Then the next question came for me: do we really need this?
How Active Should Kids Be?
After researching a little for my first article on the ReimaGo app I saw that the guidelines for how active children should be each day are for one hour (more here). Fine in the summer, but what about when the days are shorter, colder and darker and spending long period of time being active outside are less attractive? The question about how active my daughter was in school made me curious enough to try the ReimaGo app out.
Special Jackets for Sensors
If you get the jackets which are specially made by Reima for the sensor, then it is really easy to slot the sensor into the special little pocket on the arm. The sensor only „comes to life“ when the child moves around and then it registers this moving in terms of time and intensity i.e how much it is getting shaken around! The sensor then synchronizes with the app on your phone to download its data whenever you have it near enough to the phone and also you remember to do it! We aim to do it each evening to settle my curiosity of how much my child is running around outside. You get all the data from the last days when you synchronize if you haven’t done so before.
The app –
The app is free from the App Store and is available in English. In the app the children track their own activity by progressing through „levels“ with their own little man. As a parent you can individualise the app by setting goals, prizes for goals achieved and also separate awards for your child when they meet certain milestones.
The Good and the Bad –
The Bad –
Of course we all want to know the bad first, I think for me it would be the question as to whether the novelty might wear off. We have tested it now for five months and although we synced every day to begin with this has lessened to once a week. However, Lilly is still the one who initiates the synchronization and enjoys going from level to level and winning her awards. The other thing that I found at first was really understanding how the rewards work. I didn’t want or need to force my daughter to be active, she loves being out playing and running around, so I thought that the rewards were a bit useless, until I put one it. It is safe to say that she loves them! It means that I had to play around with the app a bit more than I expected, but it also reminds me to look at how active she has been by checking her statistics.
The Good –
It survived the washing machine! Twice! Yes, even if you remember a hundred times to take it out, there is always a hundred and first time when you forget, which I did on the day that my husband washed my daughter’s jacket on a hot wash, twice, because she had basically been rolling in mud. The sensor was in the pocket of her jacket and it survived – it even registered the movement as exercise, which was fun. So now you know that the sensor might survive really everything. The sensor is small enough not to bother the children but not too small so it gets easily lost. Although the jacket with the special pocket and docking station is gorgeous and high quality, the sensor can go into any pocket which was great in winter.
I am probably someone who would have thought that this app was not really needed and only got it if I was worried about my child’s activity level. I am so glad that I got to test this product because it has made me think a lot about how active we are as a family.
It also shows me how active my child is when she’s not with me: at school or out with relatives. I can make plans for us to go outside more if I see that she wasn’t out a lot in the week at school (she doesn’t always remember if she was outside for long each day!).
The test phase is now over, but Lilly still always wants to have her sensor with her and show us how active she has been. I have also learnt how active the children should be to keep them healthy while they are growing up, which I wouldn’t have know otherwise.
I hope you enjoyed my test review. Thank you for reading.
Alison from Mama Chic