When we were kids, it was all about when we could get our ears pierced and when we could go to the mall alone. Today, it's "When can I get a smartphone?" And while now, as moms, we kind of want to say "Never. I want you to be my little innocent angel with no access to the awful Internet forever," that's probably not totally feasible.
While they're still little however, you can meet them halfway with a nifty device called the GizmoPal. It's perfect for kids ages 4 to 10 for a gazillion reasons. They wear it like a watch (and get to choose their own band color) so it's less likely to get lost in the whirlwind of a kid's day. And while it lets mom communicate with them and vice versa – allowing up to four contacts – they can't go nuts downloading apps (whew) and it's not for social media (double whew). Best of all, the GizmoPal lets you track their location for a peace-of-mind fix any time of day and notifies you if your little explorer crosses over GPS boundaries that you set. And, since it's only $80, if, it did, say, accidentally get tossed into the lunchroom garbage never to be seen again, it's not totally devastating.
If you're ready to give your kid a little more phone freedom, you can go for the newer GizmoGadget, which allows for making and receiving calls from up to 10 contacts along with text messaging with emojis, voice clips, or preset messages for little ones still learning. There's also fitness-tracking functionality with a pedometer and a timer with start countdowns. Like the Pal, it comes with a replaceable wristband in a couple of color options and a customizable watch face and display theme. The price point is higher, at $150, but after you treat yourself to the glitzy new iPhone 7, it'll surely seem like a bargain.