Finding appropriate toys that integrate electronics in a meaningful way is what can be truly challenging [The AAP recommends that children should engage with entertainment media for no more than one or two hours per day, and that should be high-quality content.]. Not to mention that it is hard to overcome the idea that you may be investing money in something that their kid would outgrow in just a few months.
(For example, although many parents touted the benefits and ease of use the LeapPad1, many were concerned about their kids outgrowing what was essentially a fairly expensive toy).
Not so with the LeapFrog Epic, which adapts with kids as their age and learning level changes.
What does this mean?
-Content is adjustable to fit their age and growth
Parents can continuously add access to websites and apps as the kids grow older, so that the Epic evolves from a more simple learning tool into a nearly full functioning tablet (but with inappropriate sites already restricted).
Customizable parental controls allow parents to add new websites for their children to access, and the kid-friendly LeapSearch browser provides more than 5,000 videos, images, websites and games.
Educational applications and games will be available from LeapFrog, and parents can choose to purchase additional kid-friendly apps from Android. Unlike letting your child play games on your own tablet, you can be sure there will be no in-app purchases, no harmful third party ads, and only age-appropriate experiences. Furthermore, LeapFrog’s Just for Me learning technology provides personalization from adjusting learning levels to remembering curricular progress and providing relevant tutorials for the child’s exact stage of learning. This way, kids can safely play, imagine and create.
Regardless, it is critical that screen time does not overtake traditional open-ended play patters than promote creative thinking and imaginative exploration. That’s why we love that parents have control over the amount of time a child can use the Epic, including the option to limit play by total time, or by designating times of the day that are off-limits.
The conclusion: as valuable as simple and open ended play is, exposure to tablets and other electronics is an eventual necessity in today’s social and economic climate. If kids are allowed to learn early on in a way that is structured, safe, and dolled out in manageable, easily digestible doses, they will be adequately prepared for requisite tech skills later on in life.
91% of parents with kids ages 3 to 8 say their child already use a mobile device, with 64% saying their kids use a tablet designed for an adult. This means no child-friendly interface, no or limited parental controls, fewer real educational benefits. Since children are already being integrated into the electronics and mobile world earlier and earlier, it is best to ease the transition, as well as retain some controls over what they are exposed to.
Verdict: unlike many toys that use electronics as attractive bells and whistles that don’t really add play value (or learning value), the LeapFrog Epic is actually a good tool for exposing children to electronics and the internet at an appropriate and reasonable pace that will be beneficial to their learning.
“The perfect introduction to tablet play… Children expect technology that’s more like their parents’ – sleeker and faster, whereas parents want technology that has been designed with kids in mind and safely delivers educational and development benefits.”
John Barbour, LeapFrog CEO
Wider content and browsing ability makes it seem more like a tablet to them, while you can still maintain appropriate parental controls.
Android 4.4 operating system and features a quad-core processor, seven-inch multi-touch capacitive LCD screen, front and back camera, video recorder, 16 GB of memory and 6 hour battery life.
Recommended age: 3-9
For kids ages 9 and up, we recommend the more robust Kurio Smart from KD Interactive, a child-friendly Windows tablet with games, YouTube for Kids, Kurio Motion 2 body-control games which encourage motion, Microsoft Family Safety parental controls, and a free one-year subscription to Office 365.
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