Technology is evolving faster than ever, with new gadgets entering the market on a seemingly daily basis. It can be difficult and confusing as an adult to navigate this brave new landscape yourself. That’s even more the case when you’re doing so with kids in mind. From tech addiction to cyberbullying, the digital dangers to children abound.
But while these threats are certainly real, not all tech is bad. In fact, there are many devices that can provide your child with safer access to the online world. Here are a few that you can trust are safe for your child.
1. Kids Phones
One of the most common ways kids get hooked on the internet too early is through smartphones. This often results from peer pressure and, just as commonly, parents, believe it or not.
Peer pressure is easy to understand. Your child sees a friend playing Minecraft on their smartphone. The next thing you know, you’re buying a $1,000 digging and building simulator for your eight-year-old.
On the other hand, parents concerned about their child’s whereabouts will get them a smartphone to keep in touch. However, these devices are designed for adults, not children, and they don’t have effective protections in place by default.
This is where a safe phone for kids comes in. Some companies are responding to the threats smartphones pose to children by designing phones specifically for the younger set. These phones often limit access to the internet, games, social media, and group texting. They allow you to introduce your child to the responsibility of a phone without exposing them to unnecessary dangers.
E-readers are an excellent device for children. While they do use the internet, they don’t come with the inherent risks of social media and unfettered web browsing.
Now there are even e-readers designed just for kids. Some of these kid-centric readers come with a small library of books already downloaded to give kids a jump-start. They are a great way for your child to spend time on trips, weekends, or after school.
There are e-readers available for different ages as well, so there are options for your child no matter their age. Some are made to be more durable for younger children, while others have access to a wider range of reading material.
Giving your child an e-reader can also be an excellent bonding experience. With an e-reader of your own, you and your child can go on a reading adventure together. Find a book they are interested in, and you’ll have something to talk about together over dinner. An e-reader can get your kid excited about reading — and there’s nothing better for developing a healthy and curious mind.
These days, it’s a parent’s job to teach their kids how to use tech devices responsibly. If you feel that you and your child are ready to take this step, consider getting them a full-fledged tablet.
Just like phones and e-readers, tablets for kids also exist. The younger the age of their target audience, the more durable these tablets are designed to be. Many come with a range of preloaded applications with parameters designed for children, such as YouTube Kids.
Speaking of apps, this is one potential highlight of getting your child a tablet of their own. There are tons of great kids learning apps that will foster their growing mind. Many educational apps are so well gamified these days that they can be hard to distinguish from regular games.
You can also get your child a regular iPad or other tablet. Such devices offer different parental settings you can implement, which will limit your child’s internet exposure. However, as these devices are designed for adults, they have the full amount of risk associated with them. Parental controls only go so far, meaning such tablets are only devices you can trust if you trust your child. Use your judgment.
4. Gaming Consoles
Reading, learning, and responsible internet use are important to consider. But sometimes your kid will just want to have some straight-up fun. In that case, it’s time to talk games.
Now, there are lots and lots of gaming devices out there. It can make your head swim to think about them all. You’ve probably heard about some of the big names — there’s PlayStation and Xbox, in addition to PC gaming. And while there are kid-friendly games on these devices, they’re generally designed for an older audience. That’s where Nintendo comes in.
Tried and true, Nintendo has been designing family and kid-friendly consoles for years. While there are some more mature games on Nintendo consoles, they rarely sell well. This is a testament to the demographic that Nintendo has cultivated.
A Nintendo console is a great way for your kids to connect with their friends — and you! Many Nintendo games are designed with multiplayer fun in mind. Think Mario Kart, Smash Bros., and even Pokemon. These are games that children and adults alike can enjoy.
Tech devices and internet-connected gadgets are ubiquitous these days. It can be difficult to assess what is safe for your child, and when. Thankfully, many companies are focused on designing products specifically for kids and their families. By introducing your children to some of these devices, you can support their healthy growth into digital independence.