In its annual holiday survey of parents of 2 to 10-year-olds, PBS KIDS found that the leading trend in gifts for kids this year will be downloadable such as apps, games, e-books and digital music. Fifty-eight percent of parents reported that they will “most likely” or “definitely” be purchasing downloadable gifts this season. Of these parents, more than half (55 percent) plan to spend more or the same as last year on downloads.
Less Emphasis on Hardware, More on Downloads
Since 86 percent of parents report that their kids already have access to a computer, smartphone, or tablet, the focus this year is less on giving new devices and more on the downloadable items that will keep these gadgets fresh and exciting. Parents are gifting downloadables in two primary ways – by selecting and pre-loading apps and games onto devices for their kids (74 percent) and with gift cards that enable the purchase of downloads (57 percent).
Content is the Key
“As parents plan to give children downloadable gifts this holiday season, it is important to remember that content is key,” said Lesli Rotenberg, Senior Vice President, Children’s Media, PBS. “Tablet and mobile devices can provide learning opportunities when they are loaded with curriculum-based apps and games that are both fun and educational, but it can be overwhelming for parents to determine which apps are the right apps for their kids. At PBS, we recognize the trust that parents place in us to help them make the right media choices for their children.”
This holiday season, PBS is offering the following tips to help parents navigate successful selection and use of downloadable gifts:
- Keep it Fresh: A good app is the perfect combination of education and entertainment, and should be appropriate for your child’s age and stage of development. Kids are most engaged when the features in an app address as many senses as possible and when these features offer variations on a theme, and are not too repetitive. Keep in mind your child’s age and skill set and choose games that present the right amount of challenge without becoming frustrating.
- Safety First: Parenting today includes teaching kids how to use digital media responsibly. Help children recognize the difference between information worth sharing and private information. There are many ways you can share your ideas and creativity online, but personal information should remain private.
- Avoid apps that try to sell: A six- or seven-year-old can’t be expected to distinguish between an entertaining game and advertising. Select apps from trusted, reliable sources, and make sure that they are not trying to market to your child.
- Play Together: 56% of surveyed parents reported that they co-play mobile apps with their children “often” or “sometimes”. This is a great habit to start early in a child’s exposure to media. Talking with kids about the game or activity as you play offers both the opportunity to bond as a family and also identify teachable moments.
- Set limits: As with any new toy, parents should set expectations and limitations with their kids. Enjoying downloadable apps and games should be balanced with other offline activities and play.
PBS KIDS Apps
This holiday season, PBS KIDS has 24 educational mobile apps available for download. Some that will sure to be favorite stocking stuffers include:
- DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD “Play at home with Daniel” for iOS and Android,
Kindle Tablet and Nook Tablet – Playing is learning as kids explore bedtime, bath time ad play pretend doctor at Daniel’s house.
- SUPER WHY! ABC Adventures: Alphabet for iOS devices – Named one of the Top 25 iPad Apps for kids by TIME.com, kids can play five literacy games while mastering the alphabet.
- DINOSAUR TRAIN “Mesozoic Math Adventures” for iPad, Nook Tablet, Kindle Tablet –
Kids develop math skills and explore life sciences, vocabulary and concepts alongside Buddy, Tiny and Don.
- Martha Speaks Word Spinner for iPad – Up to four players can join in the fun, with six interactive mini-games that both kids and parents can enjoy together while building storytelling and vocabulary skills.
- Cyberchase 3D Builder for iPad – Kids can help rebuild a town turning 2D shapes into 3D structures while developing spatial and reasoning skills.
PBS continues to provide parents with tools and resources to make smart media choices, and to offer kids media content that will help them learn and grow. With a cross-platform approach, PBS KIDS is increasingly serving children wherever they live, learn, and play – through educational apps, on TV, online, and in the classroom.
More helpful tips are available online at PBSParents.org.