Kids’ tablets are all grown up

Amazon's Fire tablet lets parents control what content children have access to Picture: www.pcworld.com

Oh, they grow up so fast. Remember when tablets created for children were actually just for children? Those days are gone, and competition is to blame.

As more and more regular tablets enter the market, those designed for children are becoming increasingly sophisticated, say insiders. They bridge the gap between what was traditionally kids’ tablets and regular ones with better screens, faster chips and fashionable, sleek design. But, while they enable more mature children to do more than their predecessors, they also guide them until they’re ready for unsupervised use.

Lynn Schofield Clark, a Professor of Media Studies at the University of Denver in the US, tells the AP traditional, children’s tablets have become passé. “Kids are always aspirational in their ages, and they’re always interested in what older kids are doing,” Clark says.

She says most parents would only consider investing in kids-only devices if they offer vast educational benefits. “If they’re just looking for something to entertain their kid, then why wouldn’t they just hand over their smartphone?”

Pressured by older children preferring their parents’ gadgets, many companies have focused on younger children, creating more durable products.

But that’s changing as kids’ tablets are becoming more sophisticated and high-tech. Some even focus on delivering a product the whole family can use.

“While I appreciate that might have led other companies to adjust their products, we’re upping our game based on what customers want in the best kid experience,” Aaron Bromberg, Senior Manager of Product Management for Amazon Devices, tells the AP.

The company’s Fire tablet allows parents to set up profiles for different users. Parents also have control over the content children have access to and the time they’re able to spend on different types of content.

Other sophisticated kids-friendly devices include LeapFrog’s first Android tablet, Kurio’s new tablet-laptop combination and Fuhu’s Nabi Elev-8, a premium, 8-inch tablet.