Choosing an e-reader for your kids


 
 

By Sharon Miller Cindrich

Contributor
 
Preparing for technology

Q Our kids will be receiving a lot of technology this holiday season. Any tips for preparing?

A According to a study released by the Consumer Electronics Association, mobile devices, tablets and laptops, as well as other electronic gadgets, will be the most desired gifts this holiday.

Nothing is more disappointing than an electronic gift that doesn't work. Parents can bypass a bummer by charging electronics and trying out features a week or more before they give techie gifts.

Other steps to consider:

  • Update security. Introducing new technology may mean your kids now need access to your computer, the Internet or your Wi-Fi connection. Make sure to update parental controls. Take advantage of parental controls on video game consoles and electronic gadgets and block explicit songs on iTunes.
  • Give with boundaries. Avoid frustration by letting kids know the first day with technology is an extended limit day. Consider enclosing a small card with the extended play times written down to help manage kids' expectations. After a few days return to your house tech time limit rules.
  • Have resources ready. From batteries to how-to blogs, make sure you have resources ready when giving an electronic gift. Bookmark manufacturer websites, read reviews, and stock up on batteries and chargers. Consider giving complementary accessories like screen protectors and gadget cases to keep new gifts clean and safe.

Q: Is an e-reader a good gift for a child?

A: There are many educational benefits for kids who read on an electronic device-in fact thousands of schools across the country are using e-readers to help cultivate a love for reading and build literacy skills. Built-in dictionaries, read-aloud options, word games and access to a wide variety of reading materials online are just a few of the benefits.

For really young kids, an electronic learning toy can be a good choice. The InnoTab2 from VTech, for instance, features kid-friendly e-reading programs, along with a video camera, MP3 player, calendar and games. Designed for kids as young as 3, tech learning toys mimic traditional tablets, have a touch screen and retail for about $80.

Kids a little older may benefit from a basic e-reader like the Kindle or Nook. The Kindle Fire offers a scratch-resistant screen and games and apps from the Amazon AppStore for about $160. The Nook HD from Barnes & Noble costs about $200 and provides access to more than two million books, magazines and kids books.

Other e-readers include the Sony Reader, Kobo Touch and Kobo Mini. The iPad and iPad Mini can also serve as e-readers. How can you choose which is right for you child? Take a close look at these considerations when comparing gadgets:

  • Color appeal. While the Nook and Kindle both offer less expensive black and white display models, younger children especially will be interested in color displays. Consider how picture books and literacy games will be affected when deciding between black and white and color displays.
  • Filters. Most e-readers, like the Nook, Kindle Fire and iPad, have the ability to connect with the Internet and there is no perfect way to filter the content. While the iPad Mini offers the most extensive options of parental controls, Internet access can be password protected on most devices and Internet access can be turned off.
  • Price. How can you find the right fit for your child and get the best e-bang for your real-world buck? Consider whether kids can share readers, ask about student discounts and look out for retail coupons and rebates. Visit e-readers.findthebest.com for a comprehensive list comparison of price, size and features.
Preparing for technology

Q Our kids will be receiving a lot of technology this holiday season. Any tips for preparing?

A According to a study released by the Consumer Electronics Association, mobile devices, tablets and laptops, as well as other electronic gadgets, will be the most desired gifts this holiday.

Nothing is more disappointing than an electronic gift that doesn't work. Parents can bypass a bummer by charging electronics and trying out features a week or more before they give techie gifts.

Other steps to consider:

  • Update security. Introducing new technology may mean your kids now need access to your computer, the Internet or your Wi-Fi connection. Make sure to update parental controls. Take advantage of parental controls on video game consoles and electronic gadgets and block explicit songs on iTunes.
  • Give with boundaries. Avoid frustration by letting kids know the first day with technology is an extended limit day. Consider enclosing a small card with the extended play times written down to help manage kids' expectations. After a few days return to your house tech time limit rules.
  • Have resources ready. From batteries to how-to blogs, make sure you have resources ready when giving an electronic gift. Bookmark manufacturer websites, read reviews, and stock up on batteries and chargers. Consider giving complementary accessories like screen protectors and gadget cases to keep new gifts clean and safe.
 
 







 
 
 
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