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We received an invitation to attend the POSB Smart Buddy Programme and it was just nice that smarty was free to tag along with me that day as he doesn’t need to go to school. Nope, he didn’t ponteng (play truant) school. It was the day where the P6 students having their PSLE listening comprehension, hence P1 to P5 students can legally skip the school.
Smarty received his smartwatch when he arrived and couldn’t wait to open it up and try it. He listened attentively to the talk where people shared about the watch.
After the sharing session, smarty quickly opened up the box and took out his watch to experience the POSB Smart Buddy watch himself with the experimental stations on the spot. Of course, there were some set up to be done before we can utilise the watch but it was pretty easy. In fact, I was still trying to figure out how to use the watch while smarty just started clicking on it as if he has used it before. I guess kids learn much faster than adults do huh?
Yep, we got a successful try and he is one happy boy wearing his buddy home that day.
So, I asked him if he likes this new buddy watch and why. His reply? Awesome because I can keep track of the steps I took, the money I spent and you can keep track of me too when the location tracker is available!
So what exactly are the benefits of this Smart Buddy Watch?
1) It allows the students to save and manage their expenses.
Their daily transactions are being tracked on the POSB Smart Buddy app (with a three-month transaction history provided) where they can monitor their savings and spending patterns. Students can set their own savings goals, with completed goals recorded as badges. Digital Smiley Stamps are available for purchase at 50 cents each at their school bookstore. The stamps are used to complete their digital stamp savings card. Once the card is complete, the savings will be automatically transferred to their POSBkids savings account. Finally, students can also use the watch to pay for purchases at all merchants with NETS contactless terminals.
2) Convenience for parents, coupled with security
How do the credits go to the watch? The credit actually comes from the parents or the student’s savings account. Parents are able to use the POSB Smart Buddy app and effectively manage their child’s spending by setting a daily allowance limit. They can also view their child’s purchases in real-time, and increase the daily allowance limit remotely for emergency spending money. Accumulated savings can be automatically transferred into their child’s POSBkids account. If the child loses their watch, parents can remotely disable the devices in an instant.
Although I always remind smarty to take care of his belongings, he does show his concern if he loses his watch and what if he discovered it too late and furthermore he doesn’t have a phone to immediately call me up to disable the device. Good question! Guess we still need to provide some cash for them to bring along even though they are carrying the buddy watch. Maybe at least some 10 cent coins to call us up to disable it?
3) Fitness and health tracking
The POSB Smart Buddy watch doubles as a fitness tracker and can track students’ daily steps, distance travelled, and calories burnt. Parents can, in turn, check in their child’s fitness using the app. Parents were sharing that this feature is good so that they know during recess time if the child ran out to play or having their food.
4) Financial assistance scheme (FAS) support
Working with schools, the programme automatically credits students on FAS with their subsidies and allowances – replacing the usual coupons or vouchers. Support is therefore provided discreetly to needy students. For more details, you may want to check with the schools.
5) (Upcoming features) Location tracker and biometric feature
The programme may soon feature an in-school locator, which allows parents to track their child’s location within the school compound (canteen, library, classroom, etc.), and a school bus locator where parents can track the real-time location of the bus and be notified when their child boards or alights from the school bus. Both features are currently in the testing phase. Plans are also underway to introduce a biometric payment solution, to provide an even simpler payment journey. As a parent, I would love this to be available as I can track where my child is unless they misplaced their buddy then we will get the wrong info.
Well, how do I feel as a parent? Honestly speaking, I heard parents expressing their unhappiness of this buddy because their children will eventually not able to have the real sense of money. They will just tap on it whenever they feel like it. True to an extent but we also cannot deny the rate of technological advancement is increasing with time, sooner or later, many of these traditional ways of teaching or running of things will change over the time. What we have to do now is to guide them on how to manage the money invisibly and maybe have a spreadsheet to keep track on their own while we continue to monitor from the parent’s app. To really let them feel the money, we can always do it at times when you are on a weekend outing.
Meanwhile, check out their video about the programme. I guess visual is much easier to understand than reading, huh!