A survey commissioned by PBS Kids found that 54% of parents say they plan to purchase or give a tech gift to their children this holiday season. Nearly six in 10 (59%) of parents younger than 34 plan to buy a tech gift for their kids.
Tablets (28%) and video game consoles (18%) top the list. Smartphones are also a big item and when you combine smartphones and tablets, more than a third (36%) of parents are giving their kids connected mobile devices.
Are apps the new books?
Nearly 70% of parents plan to give their kids apps. And, according to the survey, 90% of parents believe that educational apps will plan an important role in children’s learning in the future.
The survey of parents with kids between the ages of 2 and 10 was conducted in November, 2013 by ORCInternational.
Advice for parents
Remember that tablets, smartphones, media players (like the iPod Touch) and game consoles are Internet-enabled devices. Even if they don’t have a cellular connection, they all support WiFi. With young children, think about whether to connect the device to your network and — if you do — consider various ways to limit when they go online, what they do online and what apps they use. For more on these issues, please visit ConnectSafely.org and SafeKids.com.
PBS advice for app purchases
PBS Kids offers advice for parents considering what apps to get their kids
- Think about what your child is passionate about: Look for content that builds on your child’s excitement.Media should engage kids and spark their curiosity about the world around them.
- Distinguish what is truly educational: Consider whether the content of the app is curriculum and research-based. Mobile platforms can amplify learning gains for children.
- Develop a media plan for your family: A balanced media diet includes setting limits. This is also something that parents can keep in mind, too, as kids often model their parents’ behavior.
- Play together: For kids 2 and up, apps are another opportunity to explore with your child. Talking with kids about the game or activity as you play offers both the opportunity to bond as a family and also identify teachable moments.
- Avoid apps that try to sell: Select apps from trusted, reliable sources, and make sure that they are not trying to market to your child.
PBS Kids, which is an arm of the non-profit Public Broadcasting Service, offers games, videos and other media including apps for smartphones, tablets and personal computers.
Disclosure: I serve, without compensation, on a PBS Kids advisory board.
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