O brave new world, that has such toys in’t!
The hot toys for pre-school children this year, are technological ones:
Cellphones, laptops, digital cameras and MP3 music players are among the hottest gift items this year. For preschoolers.“Not satisfied with fake gadgets,” indeed.
Toy makers and retailers are filling shelves with new tech devices for children ages 3 and up, and sometimes even down. They say they are catering to junior consumers who want to emulate their parents and are not satisfied with fake gadgets.
At the risk of sounding like my grandfather, well... a digital camera for a preschooler? My father gave me an old Brownie Hawkeye when I was about 8. I was delighted to have such an interesting toy! And a toy it was, when he gave it to me: it would have been around 15 years old at the time, and the adults had had their use out of it. It was ready, then, to be given to a child. And it did work. Dad would occasionally give me some film for it, so I could take real pictures. The rest of the time, I pretended.
I also had the loan of my parents’ “transistor radio”, which I was allowed to use at the beach to listen to the likes of Jan and Dean on WQAM, the big top-40 radio station in south Florida at the time. No MP3 music players existed then, of course, nor did mobile telephones. Computers filled entire rooms, and we never imagined that one might sit on a person’s lap.
But it’s not just a point of amazement at where technology has come in the last 50 years. It’s more that I’m amazed at the change in what sorts of toys we now buy for our children. LeapFrogs and Game Boys, brand-new cameras, DVD players, and laptop computers. One parent, quoted in the article, prefers not to give a laptop — a real, adult laptop — to her six-year-old daughter. The daughter wants it “ ’cause it’s cool.” Maybe, says mom, when she’s eight.