So you want to give your kids some level of freedom but also want to know where they are and keep in touch with them – but, they’re too young for a mobile phone? Problem.

Solution – Alcatel Family Watch now available from Vodafone.

At $180 it’s super affordable, and can be purchased with Vodafone’s no catches 12, 24 and 36 month payment instalments, and the cost of connectivity is $10 per month for unlimited calls and texts and 1GB of data to keep the location tracking working.

That means for as little as $15 a month you can give your child this smartwatch and have connectivity paid for. Pretty cool.

I’ve been testing it, with my daughter Victoria (8 years old) wearing it to school for the last few days.

It’s larger than your average kids fitness tracker that are all the rage, but not dissimilar to the other kids smartwatches out there such as the Aussie SpaceTalk device.

As a parent I can check in at any time on an app to see their location, as well as calling them or sending emoji or short voice messages direct to their watch.

The child can call only the people setup within the “family” by the parent in the app, and can only respond to the messages sent within the app with Emoji’s or voice messages.

Importantly, there are safe zones you can setup, for example Home and School – to get notifications on when they are in and out of those zones – however in my testing enabling this function did dramatically drain the battery as I was unable to set the frequency of the location updates to be more spread out so it was draining the battery using regular GPS.

There’s an SOS button for the child on the side, which if pushed for 5 seconds triggers a push notification to all connected phones, and puts the child straight into the group chat function of the watch.

Sam Skontos from Alcatel has long been passionate about the safety of kids using technology “As a father, I’m passionate about the launch of the Alcatel MOVETIME Family Watch 3G as it helps give children the independence they crave, and parents the peace of mind they need. It takes away the pressure of giving your child their first smartphone so young, and provides them with a device that’s easy and safe for kids to use,” 

Ben McIntosh from Vodafone saw a great opportunity with the Alcatel Family Watch to connect parents and their kids “At Vodafone, we believe in giving our customers choice to connect the way that they want. In a world where technology is rapidly evolving, we’re always on the lookout for new and innovative products and services to give our customers.

We’re proud to be the exclusive stockist of the Alcatel MOVETIME Family Watch which is available to purchase outright or on our no lock-in contracts. Parents can spread out the cost of the watch across 12, 24 or 36 months with a $10 wearable plan which includes unlimited talk and text and 1GB data,” 

At the price it looks like outstanding value, and for parents of kids aged 6-10 in that pre-smartphone age group where there is some desire for freedom – it’s a great solution.