The Filip is a smart watch for kids, complete with a built-in cellphone, a tracker so you can keep an eye on them wherever they are, and messaging so you can continue to harass and berate them even as they try to build their own sense of independence.
I kind of hate it.
In a recent episode of the Bitsplitting podcast, developer Brent Simmons told how pleased he was to have grown up in the 1970s. “The seventies was the last time when nobody gave a fuck about kids” he said. By which he meant that we could disappear on our bikes for the whole day and nobody worried, as long as we were home in time for dinner.
The Filip is the antithesis of this, letting you track your progeny and using a companion iPhone app, as well as letting them hit a panic button which can call emergency services, record ambient sound and transmit their location.
Having made it safely through the 1970s, I now scare myself daily by watching serial-killer TV shows, and from these I have learned that the bad guys will hack any tech they like in order to further their dark criminal causes. Was I in danger as a kid when I headed off to “The Dip” with my friends to do insane bike rides down almost vertical dirt banks? Sure. But did I need a location tagger to keep my paranoid parents pacified? I did not.
Then again, the 12-year-old me would have killed to get his hands on this amazing wrist-mounted computer.
The Filip has some smart kid-friendly design details. It clips on, surrounding the wrist and yet leaving one side open so if they catch it as they fall, it will come off instead of ripping their hand off at its root. And it is colorful and rugged. But this can’t distract me from sentences like this on the website:
We like to think of it as a modern day version of setting boundaries for your kids.
This refers to the notifications you can get when a kid enters or leaves a pre-defined area.
And so it goes. If you want to stunt your kid’s development and keep him or her inside a protective bubble forever, then you can sign up for launch info on the website.