Post Christmas, and for us a birthday, means that lots of children were given electronic gadgets.  With children under five now being bought tablets and shops offering children’s versions of every electronic gadget possible, it’s often hard to know which to buy.

electronic gadgets for kids - real or kiddy - Bubbablue and me

Two Christmases ago I debated buying N a Vtech kids tablet.  In fact, not only debated but bought one (on a good pre-Christmas sale deal).  As Christmas approached, I just wasn’t sure.  Did I really want N having his own tablet?  Surely I should be encouraging him to play with other non-electronic toys.  And it would be better if we used my tablet or phone together to play games.  Plus, he was only 3.  Did a child of 3 really need a tablet, even if it was for educational games? We coped without them as children at home and on long car journeys, so did he really need one?

In the end I didn’t give it to him.  The tablet got sold on for the same price I paid for it, and he had other non-electronic presents instead.

In the past I did buy him an ELC kids digital camera.  My theory was that I didn’t want him playing with my camera (he’d already damage one by accident as a toddler), but he still liked photos and I thought he’d quite like snapping away.  Again a really good half price offer, so not busting the bank.

The camera was more hassle than it’s worth.  Yes it’s chunky and indestructible, but the cable’s disappeared and none of the various camera or phone cables I have in the house fit it.  The photos are rubbish, it’s hard to use the different options and menu, and although N still likes grabbing it turning it on and taking various bad photos of the room, carpet, feet and the tv, it’s really not delivering a good realistic product.

After asking some of my other mum friends with similar age children, it’s interesting to see what they’ve used in the past, or are planning to buy.

While some have opted for the bright child friendly colours and chunky electronic toys, many have opted for the real thing.  Whether that be tablets or in one case a proper compact camera even when they were 3.  With prices coming down, if a present budget is under £100, then there are still decent electronic gadgets that can be bought.

I have to say I’m not planning on buying N a tablet.  Nope, he’ll have to use mine until he’s older.  Although he does use it a lot more than I do now – whether it’s for a couple of games or watching YouTube of random kids superhero videos, remote control tractor videos or Peter Rabbit.  At least he knows that it’s not his own, he has to learn to look after it, and he doesn’t have free rein with it.

But a camera.  He really likes using my compact camera if we’re out and about.  It’s annoying because a year or so ago I won a really nice compact and sold it because I already had one, but with hindsight I should have kept it.  He doesn’t take a bad photo if he stops and thinks about it, and he knows his way round the camera better than the OH does.

He did have a camera on his Christmas list, but none of the relatives bought him one.  For under £50 you can get a reasonable 18mp camera, plus other cheaper options.  Maybe he’ll want to spend his money on one during the year.  Having a proper camera, he’d end up with a decent camera that’s easy to download the photos from, easy to use the menus and can learn about basic camera use, before moving on when he’s older,  to use my compact or even mirrorless camera with some of the more manual settings if he’s still interested in photography.

child photographing bluebells

9 reasons why you should go for real gadgets for children

1, They’re more reflective of what they’ll use when they’re older

2, Real gadgets are no longer only available in boring black, so they’re still attractive to children

3, Children have to learn to appreciate and take more care rather than relying on the tough nature of their toy gadgets

4, They’ll see better output from them than the kids versions

5, Real versions don’t have to be loads more expensive, eg Kindle fire tablets vs Vtech innotabs, especially if you look out for deals.

6, Kids won’t grow out of them so fast.

7, It’s like having a mini me sitting beside you

8, They’re easier to use and set up because you’re used to using similar

9, Chances are you’ll have duplicate cables in case that one goes missing

Do your children have real or kids versions of electronic gadgets?  What made you decide one way or the other? Or do they not have them yet?

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2 Comments

  1. Must admit I did buy the innotab, but as that was now 4 years ago the real deal was still very expensive. Last year both my girls got either the vtech/leapfrog watch.

    But now, this year my eldest will be eight just before Christmas (10 days) I will be looking at buying her a proper tablet (hopefully win one). As both my girls pls with my old smartphone (WiFi access only ) and use our tablets with minimal help. Both password protected so they can not just use when we don’t know about it.

  2. My little one is still teeny, but when the time comes I plan on just buying the real thing for many of the reasons you’ve mentioned. Plus, they’re so advanced these days that it wouldn’t be long til they grew out of the kiddie versions and you have to fork out for the real ones.

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