TALKING TOYS: Are smart toys good or bad for your kids?

Kid’s toys hardly can be described as simple.

The teddy bear has been replaced by the talking teddy bear. Your child’s first potty chair is more than just mere pieces of plastic snapped together; today’s version cheers every time your child uses it.

And smart phones and tablets aren’t just for adults, anymore.

A majority of the heavy hitters in the toy making industry are fashioning tablets that begin teaching kids about technology almost as soon as they’re up and walking.

Parents aren’t exactly balking at the idea of smart toys, either. In fact, some moms and dads will tell you outright that they’re putting their iPads and Samsung phones in front of kids as soon as they can sit up.

But are all these smart toys and products ultimately a good thing for kids?

Smart toys sound as though they’re tailor made to increase intelligence from the moment they’re taken out of the package. The interactive nature of smart toys certainly suggests that kids are more involved cognitively and visually by using products that put more of a dimensional twist on how they learn.

Reading a book or following written instructions might seem rather rudimentary when you can actually watch how something is made or completed.

The flip side to the argument is one that focuses on kids and their toys, and whether or not the simple action figure, doll or building blocks bolster imagination and provoke thoughts that kids normally wouldn’t have when they’re glued to a toy or tablet screen that essentially does everything for them.

And where does the smart toy playing and actual human interaction begin and end?

That might be the most imperative question to answer moving forward in this debate, simply because the same hypothesis can be posed to adults, just as easily as kids. We’re all meant to socialize but our communication skills come into question and falter quite frankly when you sprinkle in the inclusion of smart devices for adults or toys for kids.

Ask any adult if they’ve ever become so fixated on their phone that they forget where they’re going or can’t truly pay attention to even the simplest of conversations? Do you really want your kids starting out without being able to interact or communicate effectively since they’ve spent more time scrolling through their toy tablet instead of playing outside? Some studies have shown that kids who embody a routine that centers too much on technology have behavior issues at some point.

Simply put, smart toys need a time limit, and someone to monitor how they’re used. They have their place on the shelves of toys stores and in the rooms of your children. But moderation is often the best recipe for these types of toys as far as kids splitting time between surfing their Leap Frog tablet and taking a break to go play with their friends.

 

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