(StatePoint) Getting young children acquainted and comfortable with digital devices and their interfaces is essential in today’s tech-driven world.
Kids want to have the same cool technology as adults, but the tech built for adults isn’t always appropriate and many parents aren’t willing to hand over their expensive devices. So, what’s the best way to introduce kids to age-appropriate technology? Parents should look for the following things when selecting devices for kids:
• Kid-safe features: Any technology that connects to Wi-Fi should boast safety features that allow parents to approve who children are communicating with and what sites they are visiting online. Some technology even comes with built-in kid-safe web browsers that give users access only to pre-approved sites. This can take the guesswork out of the equation, but if you’re looking for more control, consider tools that also let you add and remove approved sites.
• An educational component: Kids are absorbing new information all the time, which means that the best kids’ tech will have an educational component to match their curiosity. For example, VTech’s KidiBuzz G2, a smart device geared for ages 4-9, sends texts, voice messages, photos, drawings and animated stickers and also comes preloaded with more than 40 learning games and apps that cover math, spelling, science, problem-solving, music, Spanish and more -- including a new augmented reality game. With the device, kids also get a free trial of LeapFrog Academy, an interactive learning program filled with 2,000 games and activities.
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• Durability: Let’s face it, when it comes to kids and their toys, durability is fundamental, especially when it comes to technology. Look for bumpers and a shatter-safe screen so that kids can take their device on-the-go worry-free.
• The same cool features your tech has: Kids won’t want to use their devices if they don’t have the same cool features that yours do. These might include a sleek and stylish design, a step tracker and a highly functional camera. In the case of the Kidizoom Smartwatch DX2, two cameras allow children to capture everything from action video to selfies that can be customized in the Silly Me app. And because this wearable tech is designed for those 4-years old and older, it also includes 55 digital and analog customizable watch faces to help kids learn to tell time.
Digital devices can serve as a window to a world of knowledge and fun. Be sure to introduce your children to technology in a way that’s secure, educational and age-appropriate.