Questioning the Goodness of Interactive TV-based Toys
Interactive TV-based toys are nothing new; they have been around for a few years now. However, systems that specifically target infants and toddlers are a much more recent innovation, and today they have taken stores by storm. Parents buy them and children love them, but the question is are such toys really good for children? And, in particular, are they good for infants?
Most interactive TV-based toys come in the shape of a plastic unit that plugs in the AV port of the TV. As of recently, an increasing number have wireless connectivity, which eliminates the need for cables. At least one of the controllers is also included, through which the child interacts with elements on screen.
The interactive content (video, games, songs etc) usually comes in the form of a DVD or other removable medium. Interactive TV-based toys attempt to teach children colors, cause and effect, etc by grabbing their attention with appealing graphics and encouraging them to move elements on the screen with the controller. Most of these systems are much more than mere entertaining games, being designed specifically to help a child to learn new things about the environment.
Little Leaps from LeapFrog and V.Smile from Vtech are two Interactive TV-based systems that target infants (nine months to three years) which are quite popular. The former has wireless connectivity, while the latter uses cables. Because of the danger that cables may possess for infants, LeapFrog can be consider safer. V.Smile is more accessible overall, but has less appealing graphics.
Are they good or bad?
Now that interactive TV-based toys have been described, it’s time to answer the questioned introduced in the beginning: are they good for children? Despite what some people may want parents to think, the truth is that many of these toys are indeed ingenious and can assist the development of the child. However, excessive use is obviously detrimental. Also, Interactive TV-based toys tend to be better suited for children above four or five years, rather than infants.
What to Keep In Mind When Purchasing Such Toys
Usually, the interactive TV-based toys available in stores are specifically made to be fit for use by children. i.e. they don’t have (many) removable parts that can be swallowed, are sturdy, are easy to use etc. Regardless, some toys are safer and better than others. They should have as many of the following features:
- Wireless Connectivity (cables may be troublesome, especially when the child is very young: they can be chewed)
- Solid, durable build (children are clumsy and often drop their toys)
- Appealing on-screen displays with vivid graphics that grab the attention of the child (interactive TV-based toys have made much progress recently when it comes to graphics)
- Rich, educative content that doesn’t get boring (remember that an interactive TV-based toy must be instructive above all else; if it’s merely interesting, then it’s not worth it – there are plenty interesting things in the real world, such as people and animals, which children should interact with)
This guest article has been written by Calvin Scott. Calvin likes to blog and read on various subjects related to technology, SEO and gadgets. Visit his site for Glasvezel and Glasvezel Amsterdam.