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Do Kids Really Need Their Own Tablet Computers?

Submitted by on September 12, 2012 – 12:07 pmOne Comment

When it comes to technology, kids are smart. I know this because it wasn’t all that long ago that I was a kid. And, when it came to video games, computers, and such, I was pretty smart. Anytime my family’s home computer had a virus on it, my mom didn’t rush it to Best Buy. She called on me to fix it. Anytime the DVD player (or, better yet, the VCR—remember those? LOL) wasn’t working, I was sent behind the TV to see what the problem was. And, anytime my mom needed a new cell phone, she’d call me and ask what she should get. Maybe it’s because kids have more time than adults to mess around with new forms of technology. But, for whatever reason, I was always more up on technology than my parents were.

I bring that up, because over the course of the last few months, there have been several tablet computers that have dropped that have been specifically created for kids. Most recently, Toys R Us threw their hats into the ring by dropping a $150 Tabeo tablet that comes preoloaded with 50 apps and allows parents to load parental controls onto it before giving it to their kids. The thought is that tablet computers are everywhere now, so kids should have their own versions of them so that they can start to familiarize themselves with them. By the time they’re in high school, it’s likely that tablets will be used there. So, why not get them started with them now?

There’s only one problem with the Tabeo and all of the other tablet computers like it: It’s completely unnecessary. I know from first-hand experience because, last Christmas, I bought a LeapPad tablet for my girlfriend’s daughter. And, since last Christmas, it’s been used, oh, about 10 times total. It’s not because she doesn’t like it. It’s because she prefers using my iPad, which she has taught herself to use and which she prefers because of the fact that she can get a steady stream of free games from The App Store. Oh, and did I mention that she’s only 5? Yep. She’s 5 and she’s already a whiz on the tablet that I’m still getting used to using (mostly because I never get a chance to use it!).

So, the truth is that kid-friendly tablets like the Tabeo aren’t necessary. If you’ve got the time to monitor your kid on something like the iPad or you pick up a tablet like the Kindle Fire that allows you to install parental controls, a regular tablet will work just as well as the Tabeo and it’ll give you the chance to use it, too, when they’re playing with it. So, we’d suggest saving your money and leaving the Tabeo on store shelves. When it comes to technology, kids are smart. And, they’ll do just fine using whatever tablet you already have.

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