Raise awareness of environmental health issues in order to better protect our children and future generations.

25 November 2012

"Carcinogenic Technojunk" for Kids this Holiday Season

LeapFrog, LeapPad 2
Fourteen percent of Americans planned to give a LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Learning Tablet ($100) as a present, according to a Consumer Reports poll in 2011 . As one FB friend says about children's "learning tablets" – “more carcinogenic technojunk masquerading as educational tools”. We should write to consumer groups and toy manufacturers to remind them of their responsibility in protecting the health of children and the human rights and well-being of workers who make these gadgets in sweatshops in China. If the article on “cool new toy tablets” incites people to buy these for their kids, then they do not care at all about their child’s health. 

Here is what “Consumer Reports” says about toy tablets:
Consumer Reports Talk About Toy Tablets(source: BSCKids, 9 December 2011)

“Consumer Reports have tested the latest in toy tablets. “Toy tablets don’t have all the whistles and bells that standard tablets do, but their learning apps and kid-friendly content make them ideal for children” said Paul Reynolds, electronic editor, Consumer Report. The tablets were put to trial by the Consumer Report’s lab to see how good they functioned and by children of the appropriate ages to see how much the kids were attracted to them. Each tablet has a color touch-screen display, a few loaded games, and apps. The tablets can be linked to a PC for new downloads and software upgrades. The Vici Tab is rechargable. The other tablets use AA batteries.

“The LeapFrog LeapPad was the most enjoyable. Eight of ten kids would like to possess it. The Fisher Price IXL was commonly liked by younger children and had the longest battery life in the trial. Children liked the games on Vtech Inno Tab the best. The Vinci Tab had the best display and touch-screen of all the tablets. The LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Learning Tablets sells for $100, the Fisher Price IXL 6-in-1 Learning Systems sells for $80.00, The Vtech Inno Tech Interactive Learning Tablet sells for $80.00 and the Vinici Tab sells for $480.00. The full report is free on http://www.Consumer Reports.org.

Here is the official press release:

Consumer Reports Puts Toy Tablets To The Test

LeapFrog LeapPad is Rated Most Fun Overall, Vtech InnoTab Has Best Games

YONKERS, N.Y. , Dec. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Toy tablets, like their adult-oriented counterparts, figure to be a popular gift item this holiday season. Fourteen percent of Americans plan to give a LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Learning Tablet ($100) as a present, according to a recent Consumer Reports poll. In addition to the LeapPad, Consumer Reports tested three other tablet-like toys: the Fisher Price iXL 6-in-1 Learning System ($80), and the Vtech InnoTab Interactive Learning Tablet ($80). CR also tested the Vinci Tab ($480), an Android tablet that’s geared toward kids. The full report is available for free online at http://www.ConsumerReports.org.

“Toy tablets don’t have all the bells and whistles that standard tablets do, but their learning apps and kid-friendly content make them ideal for children,” said Paul Reynolds, electronics editor, Consumer Reports.

Here is the ad for the latest toy tablet models, from Consumer Reports: 
Toys with a Tech Twist, November 2012.

Cool new toy tablets

The first tablets made just for kids came out last holiday season. This year, there are new versions of two: the LeapFrog LeapPad 2 (deemed “most fun overall” by our panel of kid testers last year) and the VTech InnoTab (“best for games”).

Both are aimed at 3-year-olds to 9-year-olds and are great for games, photos, e-books, art activities, and more. Those used to grown-up tablets may find them a bit slow, though. You can use your fingers to tap and click, but the included styluses work better.

Consumer Reports is currently testing a batch of Android-based tablets made for children. Check back here soon for the results of that testing. Meanwhile, here's a summary of what's familiar and new in these second-generation toy tablets. 

LeapFrog LeapPad 2, Ages 3 and older
$100, leapfrog.com
You can choose from more than 325 learning-focused apps and games for LeapPad tablets. Available in green or pink, the LeapPad 2 has 4GB of memory and a front-facing and a rear-facing camera, so kids can take photos and video of themselves and others. 

It comes with songs, a free download, and Pet Pad, an animated pet kids care for and play with. The tablet automatically adjusts activity levels for each child’s ability, and parents can track their child’s progress at the LeapFrog Learning Path site. New games, books, and apps cost $5 to $25. 

Vtech InnoTab 2, Ages 3 and older
$80, vtechkids.com
The InnoTab 2, in pink or white, comes with just 2GB of internal memory, but VTech has added an SD card slot, so you can increase memory up to 32GB. The new model also has a rotating camera you can point forward, up, and backward. We enjoyed taking a face photo and integrating it into the included Face Race game.

With the InnoTab 2, you get two styluses, a thoughtful touch. It also has an incorporated kickstand for viewing videos and other content. Also built in are a tilt sensor and microphone. Parents can track kids’ activities at Learning Lodge Navigator on the VTech site. That’s also where you can get additional games, apps, and e-books, free to $7.50. 

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