Is It Safe To Give My Kid A Drone?

Is it safe to give my kid a drone?

Parents Top 3 Considerations Before Giving Their Kid A Drone

Is It Safe To Give My Kid A Drone?

1. Appropriate Age – Most toy drones are recommended for ages 8 and up, however, it is the parents’ discretion to determine what is the best age for their child to start learning how to fly a drone.

2. Understand Drone Rules – Parents should invest in learning general drone rules, particularly those regarding safety. Be aware of the flight area, and courteous to people and homes surrounding the flight areas.

3. Adult Supervision – Parents should ALWAYS be present and monitoring the child’s drone flight activity.

Should I Give My Kid A Drone For Christmas?

is it safe to buy my kid a droneWith Christmas season right around the corner, drones are one of the hottest items on kids (of all ages), Christmas list. You might be asking yourself, “should I give my kid a drone?” What are the best children’s drones with camera under $100? I will address some of your questions and hope to be helpful as you enter in to the decision to purchase your child a drone for Christmas.

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In today’s article, I would like to talk about drones for kids, starter drones and drones for beginners. As a commercial drone operator, whether I am flying as a hobbyist or on a commercial shoot, it is frequent that people will sidle up beside me watching me flying my mission, either watching the drone, or leaning in over my shoulder watching the controller screen. It is also a lot of fun to find myself surrounded by children watching the drone in amazement, laughing and posing for the camera! While I actually enjoy the interaction, when I need to be focused with no distraction, I just launch from a more discreet location, which brings me to why I am writing this article.

What Is The Best Drone For My Kid?

daddy daughter drone shootMy oldest daughter is 8 years old and I enjoy taking her on drone shoots with me. She is a great sidekick and it’s a good daddy/daughter activity for us. She has grown up watching me fly the drones, so for her it’s not necessarily any big deal, but she has often asked me if she can fly the drone sometime. If you’re like me, you may not want to let your youngster play with your expensive drone gear, especially if it is a more expensive model. So, I have started researching kid-friendly drones to see what makes sense. My wife is also interested in using a drone to implement some aerial shots into her daily vlogs. That being the case, I am factoring into my research both 1) kid-friendly options, and 2) that also have a good camera. Most of my personal experience being DJI drones, it’s important to mention here that there are many other options to consider as well. And while you can find entry level drones for under $100 dollars, you may consider budgeting $200 to $300 for a better quality, GPS capable drone. In any case, it would be an epic tragedy to lose or crash your shiny new drone within the first day. SO, with these budget considerations in mind, in keeping with the premise of this article, we will take a deeper look into what we can get in the $100 or less price range.

My Top 3 Picks For Drones Under $100

I have been researching drones for a couple months now, and measuring by three parameters:

  1. Priced under $100
  2. Minimum 720p HD camera integrated
  3. Minimum 4 out of 5 star review on Amazon.

Below is a narrowed down list, in no particular order, that I am considering.

At $99 MSRP, this drone is exceptional with a 4.3 out of 5 star rating, offering industry leading technology from DJI. With a flight time of about 13 minutes, and smart switching antennas, you have a range of about 100 meters and an HD camera transmission at 720p.

The camera offers electronic image stabilization and fly by FPV goggles or the screen of your phone. You can launch the drone by a simple toss into the air and you’re off. With a weight of 80 grams, and removing the prop guards, the drone can fly at up to 10moh or 16 km/h.

Vivitar DRC-445 VTI

At $99 MSRP, this drone is exceptional with a 4.3 out of 5 star rating. With a flight time of about 16 minutes, and mini drones with HD camera allow you to record, take photos, and stream in clear and crisp 720p directly to your smartphone through the mobile app without any blurring or distortions making it just the right choice for taking gorgeous shots.

GPS ASSIST FLIGHT DRONE: Whether you’re looking for a racing drone, security drone, or a kids drone, this RC quadcopter with camera has you covered. It’s easy to use and features a built-in GPS to automatically return to you and reduces the risk of any accidents.

EASY TO USE & CONTROL: Thanks to the mobile app, you can remotely control the helicopter drone while the Follow Me drone function allows it to automatically follow you making it easier to get stable videos, images, and selfies without any hassles.

GoolRC CSJ S166 DroneAt $89 MSRP, this drone is exceptional with a 5 out of 5 star rating, offering flight time up to 18 minutes with a 1300mAh larger capacity battery allowing you to have more fun with the drone. 

720P Camera: High quality 720P HD camera enables to capture your remarkable moments and the 120°wide angle camera helps to take sharper images in a wide view; Gesture Photo/Video: Easy for you to shoot quality images or videos by gestures.

Accuracy GPS: Provides an accurate positioning details of your drone for a safer fly and also helps to achieve the astronomically return function when it is non-signal, which is free your worry from losing the drone.

How Old Does My Child Have To Be To Operate A Drone?

I will be careful in answering this question. The youngest age allowed to apply and test for the FAA Part 107 sUAV certification is 16. Another consideration might be to observe the appropriate age recommendation listed on the label of the drone you are purchasing. Toy drones, for instance, are often labelled as appropriate for ages 8 and above. Most of these drones have a limited range, are usually equipped with prop guards and are no more dangerous than other remote controlled toy helicopters or airplanes. Additionally, the quad propeller drone can be far more stable in comparison and thus safer for kids to operate.

A few things that we as parents should be aware of before putting a drone into the hands of our children.

  1. Don’t take my word for it. Drones are a bit more sophisticated than your Etch-A-Sketch or Mr Potato Head. But, then again, our kids are more sophisticated than we were at their age. Drones offer a range of capabilities and while a toy drone may not be capable of flying above the legal 400’ elevation, you still want to make sure to know where drones are allowed or not. Believe it or not, if you’re visiting a state park, you might get a tap on the shoulder by a park ranger letting you know that drones “are not allowed”. Just take a minute and hit google to make sure to be cognizant of any rules relating to your area and you’ll be fine.
  2. Be sure to hang out with your child while they are flying the drone. Aside from all the legal jargon, rules and regulations, take time to chat with your kids about the common sense stuff; safety, for example, being the foremost of importance. Help them to take notice of their surroundings, people, cars, other homes, trees and powerlines just to name a few. Also, be sensitive to people around you. The biggest complaint people have about drones of any sort is invasion of privacy. As a rule of thumb, if your child is uncomfortable asking permission to film people, then it’s best not to film people. It’s just a good idea all around to be close by while your kids are flying a drone, which leads to the next point.
  3. Take advantage of the time you are spending with your kids and make it a teaching opportunity. The Drone (sUAV, sUAS) industry has evolved quickly into a multi-billion dollar industry. What might be “just for fun” now, could become a passion and evolve into a career path for your child. A broad range of industries are implementing drone utilization as a means to improve productivity and lower operational costs. From real estate marketing to land development, mapping, engineering as well as cinematography are just a fraction of the commercial uses of drones. Use this playtime to have fun and learn at the same time!
  4. Let’s not get so serious that we forget that there are many ways to enjoy this toy as a toy. Kids of all ages are having fun with drones, piloting these tiny ships through the air, performing tricks, taking pictures of your house from above the treelines, or filming their siblings and friends surfing at the beach. There are also drone games such as obstacle courses and races, contests to see who can do the coolest tricks, and whatever else their imaginative minds can conjure up!
  5. Not the last and certainly not the least point I might offer is to be patient. Getting started with a drone is like anything else. Practice makes perfect, trial and error and being willing to work through the learning phases. On the flip side of that coin is the kids will more than likely crash and even damage the drone or lose it in a tree. The best thing to do is start out with one of the lesser expensive drones I listed above to get through the initial learning stages, then graduate up to drones with more capabilities and functionality. It can wear on a parent’s patience if we let it. Just be aware going in that you might have to deal with some of these challenges and you won’t be blindsided.

Should I warn my neighbors that we bought our kid a drone?

As I mentioned already, we should always be sensitive to people around us. Whether we are at the park, the beach or at home, it is important to keep the safety and privacy of those around us as an important priority.

Make sure your kids understand not to fly their drone directly over a neighboring home or yard. It might be a good idea to let your neighbors know that your child has a drone, so not to be alarmed if they hear or see it flying nearby. Depending on the child, it might be best to set some specific boundaries for where they can fly in the neighborhood, what times it is OK to fly, etc. We should also be sure to listen to our neighbor if they voice issues or concerns and respond in a positive manner. The last thing we want is a dispute with the neighbor over a toy!

Good communication can go a long way toward a good drone experience in the neighborhood!

In Conclusion

Speaking as a commercial drone operator, I try to present commercial drone rules and regulations in a good light. If my children show an interest in flying a drone, I will be certain to teach them the proper way to operate a drone, even if it is a toy and we are just playing. Teaching good practices from the start is the best way and will lead to a great droning experience for them and for all of us!

If you have any questions, comments or just want to introduce yourself as a fellow drone enthusiast, please leave me a note! I appreciate your interaction and also appreciate your sharing my content with your friends, family and peers! Happy Droning!

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