With less than three months to go ‘til Christmas (if you didn’t know already!), here are the top tips from TimeTokens on how to make the right decisions on tech gifts for your kids.
1. What is the tech going to be used for?
If you need a younger child to have a phone to stay in touch with you, then something completely straightforward without internet access like the Lexibook is a good option. Bear in mind that tablets designed for younger kids may be more robust, but they won’t be particularly future-proof. Especially if they’re eventually going to be used for school work, then something slightly more grown up (with the best bump-proof accessories you can buy) may be a better investment longer-term.
2. What happens if your child’s tech gets damaged or lost?
Check the fine print on any home or gadget insurance, as some insurers won’t cover damage or loss at school. The other alternative to lessen the potential financial hit is to consider second-hand/refurbished tech. Just make sure they come from a reputable dealer in the case of refurbished items, or with the original receipt in the case of second-hand purchases.
3. Does your child’s tech or toy have internet connectivity?
Even if you’re not purchasing a gift that is specifically for connecting to the internet, some toys and wearable technology are designed to gather data/photographs, or to connect to location services in order to track activities. Internet Matters has a really good guide to the kinds of gadgets that may be connecting to the internet without you even realising. Also, make sure the right privacy settings are enabled.
4. Keeping your child safe online.
If you feel that you are not entirely sure how to set up strict parental controls and safe searching measures (especially on apps like YouTube), then do your homework . We think the NSPCC’s online resource is particularly good.
5. Managing your child’s usage.
We know that switching off the screen is tough enough for grown ups! Have a think about the rules you want for your kids. Things to consider include only using their screen in a shared space like the living room, none at mealtimes and also an agreement around time limits. We have a handy guide on what the current recommendations are around screentime here.
6.Tech skills are important.
The media keeps talking about children learning about ‘digital resilience’ - this includes knowing when to switch off and having a balanced set of activities. That’s why we created TimeTokens, to reward and empower children and teach them how to manage their screentime. A tech gift for Christmas won’t just make their wish list dreams come true, but will also get these skills up and running well before they hit their teens.
If you have any tips or learnings from buying your child technology as a present - please drop us a line, we’d love to hear your thoughts firstname.lastname@example.org