Fitness Trackers Are Good For Kids, Just Don’t Go Overboard; Experts Say

NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Gorgeous weather makes people want to get outside and get moving, especially if they’re wearing an activity tracker.

But can a device meant for healthy living become an unhealthy obsession — particularly for kids?

Claire McCarthy, 12, is counting steps — she’s part of a generation of kids tracking their activity on ever present phones or bands.

As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff explained, not all of them are made for kids, but they’re ending up on little wrists.

Kids love the competition, and some educators do too.

“I don’t see the distraction issue, I just see it as motivation,” assistant principal Danielle Heissner said.

One runner said it teacher her kids to set and reach goals.

“It’s all about instant gratification, so it helps them understand, ‘this is what I’m doing, and they feel a sense of accomplishment,” Faith Paris Aarons said.

Even doctors in a Northwell Health Pediatrics Office track their movements, hoping it will rub off on kids.

“I think they’re great. Anything that helps you get to that 60 minutes a day is a good thing. The small steps add up to make positive influence in your kid’s health,” Dr. Allison Driansky said.

Like all things tech, the trackers can get addictive. Some parents frown on the invasion of tech in every step of their kids lives.

“I think they should just run and be free and not keep track of it,” Melissa Connelly said.

Experts reminded parents that technology is here to stay, so when it comes to kids, you’re better off not fighting it, but figuring out how to use it to your children’s advantage.

“It’s something that can be extremely positive, but fall into the negative if that’s the only way they measure how they are feeling, and what their healthy activity is,” parenting blogger Cynthia Litman said.

An estimated one in five Americans use some sort of wearable fitness tracker.

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