The Connected Generation #5: What’s Next in Technology for Kids?

What role do kids play in the future of technology?

In honour of March Break, we took a look at technology enterprises currently engaging the younger generations (i.e. kids and teenagers).  For our final article of the week we turn our attention to the future of technology, particularly the products and innovations designed for kids.
CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2016 recently concluded in January.  The event boasted a variety of technology products and innovations for both the younger and older generations.  Based on the products presented at the event, three concepts are clear regarding the future of technology as it relates to kids.
 

Introduction to Technology at a Young Age

Over the years technology has increasingly been introduced to children at a very young age.  Playing video games, using computers and smartphones is seen as regular activities for kids and teenagers.  Now, it seems that future devices are aimed at introducing technology when children are babies or toddlers.
 
Examples like Fisher Price’s Codeapillar, an interactive toy which teaches toddlers to “code” by building and redesigning units of a caterpillar so that it will move in different ways,[1] and Square Panda, an interactive keyboard and app that teaches young children their letters and alphabet [2] demonstrates how technology is being used to teach children basic developmental skills.
 

Technology as a Learning Tool

Toys and games are a popular method to educate and engage children.  With technology becoming more advanced it has been adopted as a primary learning tool in certain toys and games.
As a learning tool, toys, games, and gadgets equipped with technological capabilities adapt a fun and interactive approach in order to teach children everything from reading and writing, to creativity and oral hygiene.
 
For example, CES 2016 presented products such as the Boogie Board Jot 4.5 with Clearview and the Playbrush which help kids learn how to write their letters and brush their teeth, respectively, in a way that keeps them engaged and interested.
Equipping toys and games with technology not only makes them fun but they are seen as more productive.  They are put into a positive light if they can introduce basic skills and knowledge to children.
 

Technology Makes Devices Accessible to All Children

Technology has performed leaps and bounds by creating devices that simultaneously teach and interest children. Despite this achievement, certain toys and devices are not applicable to everyone.  Children with physical and learning disabilities can often feel left out.
 
This is beginning to change.
 
An example is Leka, an interactive robot “designed to stimulate children with developmental disorders like Autism and Down Syndrome”.[3]  The robot works by providing games and activities through sensory stimulation in the form of lights, sounds, and vibration.[4]  It presents a non-threatening, fun experience for children and increases their social and learning interactions. [5]
 
Gadgets like Leka are helping children with physical and developmental disorders experience fun and engaging technology that they may not have had access to in the past.  The fact that technology allows this gap to be bridged is an important and significant achievement.
 
Another example are the Android applications designed for children.  Considered a learning tool, these applications provide information to kids and young children on a variety of topics.  While these applications are great for kids, parents need to take a proactive approach and ensure their children are accessing suitable content.  Best Apps for Keeping Kids Safe on Android is a great article reviewing some of the latest apps that are available to tech savvy parents allowing them to keep their kids safe using mobile devices.
 
Throughout this week we have explored different technology avenues for children.  From programs that teach kids coding and the STEM disciplines, to comparing technology from the previous generation and rules regarding kids’ technology use, it’s clear that today’s kids, teenagers, and their parents have some of the greatest technology at their fingertips.
 
References for this Article:

[1] Chang, Lulu.  (10 January 2016).  Teach Your Toddler How To Code With The Code-A-Pillar.  Digital Trends.  Retrieved from  https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/code-a-pillar/
[2] Nguyen, Chuong.  (8 January 2016).  iPad learning tool integrates toys to teach children to read.  TechRadar.  Retrieved from https://www.techradar.com/us/news/software/applications/ipad-learning-tool-integrates-toys-to-teach-childrentoread-1312774
[3] Leka.  (n.d). Help Exceptional Children Live Exceptional Lives.  Leka Smart Toys.  Retrieved from https://leka.io/
[4] Leka.  (n.d). Help Exceptional Children Live Exceptional Lives.  Leka Smart Toys.  Retrieved from https://leka.io/
[5] Leka.  (n.d). Help Exceptional Children Live Exceptional Lives.  Leka Smart Toys.  Retrieved from https://leka.io/
{6} Dean, Roland. (2017, May 16).  Best Apps for Keeping Kids Safe on Android.  Joy of Android.  Retrieved from https://joyofandroid.com/best-apps-keeping-kids-safe-android/

 
 
Courtney Rosebush is a Marketing and Sales Coordinator at Triella, a technology consulting firm specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium sized firms. Courtney can be reached at 647.426.1004 x 227. For additional articles, go to www.triella.com/publications. Triella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Kaspersky Reseller.
© 2016 by Triella Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction with credit is permitted.
 

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