Would you let your kids wear Fitbit?
Recently, a unique trend is emerging among kids. Surprisingly, for the first time parents are supporting and even appreciating a kid’s trend without thinking about its consequences. Wondering, what is this trend? It is children using Fitbits.
For quite some time, adults all around the globe are taking the help of fitness trackers to keep a check on their physical fitness. It is perfectly natural to assume that these devices can help your kids too to divert their attention from digital life and devote some time to their health. But, in reality, these fitness trackers do more harm to your kids than good. Surprisingly, they can compel your kids to visit the counselor’s office or even hospitals.
No, I am not exaggerating. Let us first see what is Fitbit and then I will make you understand my point.
All About Fitbit
You must be thinking about what there is to know about Fitbit, it is just a step tracker. Not just you, most people have a conception that fitness trackers are just for step counting, tracking sleep, and food logging. But, what about the Fitbit app which syncs these devices?
Fitbit app is designed to not just update information from the trackers but to influence people to work out more. And, there is nothing more influential than social media. Fitbit app also provides all the functionalities of a social media platform. In particular, its community tab is very similar to Facebook’s timeline. It lets you see updates of your friends added through email or directly through their profiles. Moreover, in this app users can connect to thousands of people at a time by joining public community groups. They can also chat privately through the “DM” feature.
I have said it previously, let me clarify once again that any app that lets your kids chat with strangers is a window of online predation. Fitbit is no exception. Read more to know-how.
Dangers Associated With Fitbit
There are certain issues associated with Kids wearing Fitbits that cannot and should not be ignored in any case.
Age Inappropriate content
The community tab allows your kid to join nearly forty public groups and some of them are not at all appropriate for young users. “Trying to Conceive”, “Birth Control” are the names of some community groups your kids can easily join. Moreover, the private groups which ask for an invitation to join are not safe either. Your kid can become a victim of online bullying or interact with adult content including drugs and alcohol here.
Fitbit seems harmless but in reality, your kid can become the prey of strangers through it. Using the DM feature, some people can lure your kids into their trap for their own benefit in the pretext of friendship. Their conservation can also move to some dangerous apps.
Fitbit’s aim is to motivate its community to stay active and fit. Its app includes many competitions like from a group, who is taking more steps in a week or month. “Cheer” and “Taunt” feature lets users build up the competition. Kids may take these challenges negatively and online bully other kids whose body type doesn’t match up to the level of standards set by our hypocritic society.
Disordered Eating Because Of Fitbit
ANAD (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders) claims that amongst all the 9 to 11-year-old kids, 46 percent have been on diet at least for some period in their life. Fitbit tracks the number of calories consumed by individuals. It can compel kids to obsess over their daily calorie intake. They may engage in rigid diet planning and unhealthy eating. When they fail to follow these impractical goals, they can move into a phase of anxiety and restlessness. Moreover, these fitness trackers have not designed their daily goals keeping in mind the needs of growing kids. They may lead to malnutrition amongst kids.
Obsession With Steps, Body Shape, and Weight
These fitness trackers are made to keep sluggish adults in check. The 9 to 5 desk jobs and long commute restrict their free movement but kids have many opportunities to get moving. They need not obsess with their steps and walk in the hallway at 11 pm just to complete their daily steps goals. They should opt for healthy alternatives like outdoor sports or swimming to be active. Moreover, some kids might end up doing vigorous workouts if they are not satisfied with their body shape and weight.
Do Kids Need Fitness Trackers?
For many parents, it is very hard to encourage their kids to be more active. The prime reason is they themselves prefer to be couch potatoes after finishing with their daily hustle-bustle. Kids do not need any fitness tracker to keep an eye on their physical fitness. The best way is to model good behavior in front of them so that they themselves get motivated to stay healthy. For example, when it’s raining go for a soccer game in the backyard with your kids rather than long car drives. Have daily yoga sessions in the morning and fun Zumba on the weekends. This will not only keep you and your kids healthy but also develop your parent-child relationship.
Kids should not be pressured with unrealistic goals. They do not need fitness trackers like Fitbit to build healthy habits. Parents should motivate them to be more active by modeling the same behavior. It will ensure their well-being in the real world. For wellbeing in the digital world, do not forget to install Bit Guardian Parental Control. It will keep a track of your kid’s screen time, monitor content they are interacting with and filter websites to keep their online experiences safe.