If you’ve ever had to entertain a child in a fix, you know that technology is a convenient babysitter, as kids are mesmerized by gadgets ranging from simple mobile phones to iPhones and BlackBerrys. Considering that consumers don’t typically go anywhere without their personal tech, kid-focused apps come in handy when there’s nothing else to stop a child from screaming and crying. Covered in the iPhone Sitter trend in The Intelligence Group’s New Family Report (which you’ll be learning more about in next week’s trendcentral), a pop-the-bubbles app could turn a cranky subway ride into a giggly trip downtown. However, for those who’ve seen more than a few cracked screens or sticky keyboards, a new wave of tech for tots that imitates their parents’ devices is emerging. While toy gadgets are certainly not new, they are certainly becoming more sophisticated.
Taking advantage of children’s desire for their parents’ handheld gadgets, edutainment tech trendsetter LeapFrog recently introduced the Text & Learn. Resembling a jumbo-sized, kid-colored BlackBerry, kids ages three and up can text back and forth on the full QWERTY keyboard with virtual guide “Scout,” who also helps them navigate through a pretend browser. Games are included to help children learn the alphabet, spelling, and basic computer skills. Keeping kids entertained, learning, and away from their parents’ more easily destructible gadgets, the device’s $25 price doesn’t seem like too much to ask.
I know I should be creeped out by this, but all of you who have cared for little ones know about their obsession for grown-ups tech. The fake candy filled phones are not a ruse that works (candy is always fun though). Even babies aren’t tricked by their plastic teething key rings. This actually looks like a cool direction for toddler products to me. And breaking a 25 dollar toy is easier to swallow then a $300 iphone/blackberry