BlackBerry for Kids - Educational or Addictive?

Filed under: Opinions

It may look like a funky-colored smart phone, but this gaudy gadget doesn't make calls or send emails, and can't connect to the Internet. The new Text & Learn from Leapfrog is designed for kids who covet their parents "CrackBerry" -- so they can imitate mom and dad while exploring "core learning concepts" (like days of the week, recognizing letters, etc).

My four-year-old -- who likes to email her grandmother on my iPhone -- would adore this toy, and some tech-savvy parents think the Text & Learn would be a hit with their kids as well. One mom told the NY Daily News: "I would definitely consider getting one for Pete -- in the vain hope it would keep him away from my cell, which he thinks is the seventh wonder of the universe."

However others disagree, dismissing Leapfrog's claims that "Busy three-year-olds will love to 'play'" as "just plain wrong." Kathy Stiegel, a Maryland mom of two, is keeping the toy away from her kids because: "There's so much in the real world to learn and so many basic human skills to develop."

While it does technically teach computer skills, this is essentially similar to any other electronic learning device -- except that it looks like the beeping, buzzing, appendage you'll find permanently affixed to the email addicts among us. Is the Text & Learn the gateway drug to a life of obsessive electronic communication, or just a cute toy that prepares your child for the reality of a world run by gadgets?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.