Do we need separate gadgets for kids?

I have found a sure-shot way to befriend my friend's kids and keep them occupied while we catch up over dinner. I introduce myself, "Hi, I am Nisha. Would you like to play a game on my iPad/ phone?" Obviously, no kid will turn down the offer.

I am amazed by the confidence with which kids will pick up a device that is completely new to them (even an operating system that's completely new) and navigate without hesitation to the games and figure them out. It takes them no time at all to learn a new device. I know adults who own a device since some months and still can't figure out basic things. 

So, I was wondering about the spate of kid-friendly gadgets like LeapFrog's LeapPad2. While I know that durability, bright colors and kid-safe design are helpful for gadgets, I think kids would still be more excited to go after dad's cell phone and tablet. They just represent a more tempting source of fun. This is not to say that gadgets for kids are dumbed down. Just that the beauty of gadgets is their universal appeal to everyone. 

And I wonder whether you would spend USD 100 for a kids' tablet like LeapPad or just buy or pass on an old refurbished iPad in an impact resistant case. Or even your old smartphone sans SIM card.

I would be interested to know what parents think about the topic, and what they think their kids would want!

Comments

  1. Very nice article Nisha; and one I couldn't agree with more!!! Kids can teach an adult, esp a tech-Neanderthal like me how easy it is to get around gadgets and make sense of them! I remember the time when the Vs were a yr old and they had switched on the mute button on my iPhone and I couldn't figure out what to do. Took me an hr to sort it and I almost took my phone to the Apple store! (Yes that is how tech challenged I am!)
    My sons play with the iPad - infact they are the ones who use it. It is mainly filled with apps. Infact a lot of apps like Hairy Letters or Maths for 3-5yrs old is really amazing. Check them out on the App store.

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    Replies
    1. Moush, as I said, I am just amazed by kid's intuitive tech savviness. I remember once at a friend's place I was trying to turn on the DVD player and her son advised me exactly what to do without even raising his eyes from the iPad game that he was playing! I do think that with their plethora of apps, iOS and Android devices represent a rich source of entertainment and learning for kids. They do not really need a 'separate' tablet and can do well with 'adult' devices. I know that parents who buy these devices for themselves find them being taken over by the kids and resign themselves to it the best they can, or try to ration usage as a reward for good behaviour! I do agree that kids can learn a lot in a fun way from these devices. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  2. Hi nisha, my kids are 12 n 10yrs of age. They OWN my ipad aNd samsung tab, I hardly get to use it as since d day I've got these, I haven't had d time with d device to put my stuff in it. It is full of game apps which they have downloaded and they play!
    They also use our old BB phones without d data services. They r very familar with anroid, BB, windows. I didn't teach them anything, they have just figured it out themselfs!
    Frankly speaking, I don't think gadget makers should make kid friendly gadgets, they need to make "older ppl friendly" gadgets! :))

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