Anyone that has read recent news reports about what kids want for the Holidays could be forgiven for thinking that Santa’s workshop must resemble an iPhone assembly line. And it’s not just older kids: according to data released last month by market research firm Nielsen, children as young as 6 were putting tech devices like the iPad, Kinect for Xbox 360, and Nintendo DS at the top of their wish lists.
Many parents have expressed concerns that too much tech can take the fun out of the Holiday season but you won’t get that from the kids themselves – at least not in an age where you can video chat with Santa, follow him on twitter, and even track his progress on your very own Santa Tracker app!
From my perspective, tech gifts are just the modern-day equivalent of the toys we used to get when we were kids. Although you may lament the decline of stamp-collecting and scrapbooking, interacting with technology can be just as stimulating. Tech devices often last longer and help kids prepare for an increasingly digital world.
But buying tech gifts for kids does need some extra thought. If you’re buying for a niece, a nephew, or someone else’s child, then you should check with the parents to make sure your gift is appropriate and conforms with their own in-house tech rules.
Here are a few other things to think about:
Are there other costs involved?
Buying someone a smartphone or a tablet may be a great idea, but most “connected” devices require activation and a service contract. That could end up costing the recipient many more times than the value of the gift itself. Make sure the recipient – or the recipient’s parents –are happy to take on the additional expense.
Make sure the gift is age-appropriate
This not only applies to the tech device itself but also to any content that can be viewed on the device. This is particularly relevant when it comes to games. Your 12-year-old nephew may tell you that he’s ready for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 but he might not be so forthcoming about the fact that it’s an M-rated game and is highly inappropriate for his age group. Again, it’s always best to check with the parents before you buy.
Make sure there are no compatibility issues
It would be a shame to spend $199 on a brand new Nook Color e-reader only to find out that the recipient has already built up a big collection of Kindle e-books, which can’t be transferred. Similarly, a copy of the Dance Central 2 video game for the Xbox is not much use unless the recipient has a Kinect motion controller. Again, always ask beforehand to avoid disappointment.
If you keep these issues in mind, then you will be in great shape. Technology really is the gift that keeps on giving, and it’s at the top of all those wish lists for a reason. So don’t be afraid to go out and make a few of those Holiday dreams come true!
Don’t forget to check out Verizon’s limited-time online Holiday deals. There are lots of free and discounted phones, and even a free Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot! (All deals require activation and a new two-year Verizon contract.)
I have been compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.