Sadly, one-third of U.S. children are overweight or obese, says the Center for Disease Control. Many kids need more exercise and less time watching television or playing video games.
But what if parents could turn playing outside into an actual video game?
Enter the iBitz wireless “activity tracker,” a Fitbit-like device designed specifically for kids, made by a Boulder, Colo., company called GeoPalz.
With iBitz, as kids play outside, their steps turn into an iPhone/iPad video game (a rocket ship that explores the galaxy).
Better still, as kids earn points in the iBitz game, it can lead to other rewards such as coins and special content from Disney’s Club Penguin, an online activity site for kids. Or kids and parents can pick a gift from Amazon in a special section of the app, then establish how much activity is needed for parents to buy that item.
To use iBit, parents buy the device ($35) and download the iPhone app (free).
One thing that makes this different from an actual Fitbit is that the app is compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act, meaning that the kid’s activity info cannot be shared with anyone besides the parent, the company says.
There’s also a $US50 adult pedometer available, so a family can track its activity together.
The company was founded in 2010 by Rich and Sheri Schmelzer and Alexandra O’Leary, the creators of Jibbitz — a company that made dress-up accessories for Crocs shoes that was bought by Crocs in 2006 for $US20 million.