Since you were a child, technology has advanced dramatically. Your children have most likely mastered the capabilities of your iPhone better than you. So it’s okay to admit it: It’d be nice if they had their own thing so your phone wasn’t constantly soaked in unknown slime. A firm “no” to all devices, on the other hand, may make you feel like an awakened TikTok parent or a parent from the dark ages.
Best Kids’ tablets may provide a healthy balance between providing your children with the technology they desire while preventing them from becoming the kid in the grocery store having a breakdown over Roblox.
What’s going on in the realm of screen time advice?
Best tablets for kids are useful for more than just keeping them entertained during a lengthy car ride or a tedious family gathering.
Screen learning and screen time limits are becoming increasingly popular areas of study. Two-ish years of being cooped up with little to do but look at a screen pushed the issue to the forefront of parenting discussions. As it becomes evident that the benefits of remote learning and working aren’t wearing off, screen time may become a daily challenge for more parents than it was before the pandemic.
The most common inquiry from parents is, “How much is too much?” Though there is rarely a definitive solution, new studies might shed light on ideal methods.
The World Health Organization announced much-anticipated rules on on-screen usage for preschool-aged children in April 2019: one hour per day is the recommended maximum for children under the age of five. These recommendations are founded on the premise that face-to-face interaction promotes healthy cognitive development in early childhood. This is consistent with recent Vanderbilt University research, which demonstrates that toddlers are unlikely to learn much from a screen in the first place.
Kids are beginning to understand that the character on the screen represents a real person — and that person is teaching them something.
However, by the age of three, the learning gap has usually faded. Kids are learning to converse while also understanding that the character on the television represents a real person — and that person is teaching them something. In an Inc.com article, Dr. Carolyn Jaynes, a learning designer at LeapFrog, says, “This content frequently incorporates methods such as repeating an idea, displaying sights and noises that catch attention, and employing child rather than adult voices for the characters.”
The Joan Ganz Cooney Center (a non-profit established by the people behind Sesame Street) conducted a study that contrasted literary assessments of kindergarten through third-grade pupils who utilized tablets at school. Students who used tablets performed better on tests than those who did not, and they were able to recognize 20% more vocabulary terms due to their greater capacity to distinguish sounds and express sounds as letters. According to a 2018 meta-analysis published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, the touchscreen learning effect was especially advantageous for STEM due to the memorable real-life experiments that physical swiping can simulate.
Can we really blame them? Interacting with content creates a more immersive and memorable experience. It simply feels more like play, and it’s not unexpected that children may be more inclined to learn when it isn’t forced. Furthermore, play and imagination are the foundations for creativity and empathy, thus playing Toca Boca instead of multiplication is still developing real-world abilities.
Dr. Michael Levine, the creator of the Cooney Center, provided some insight into the distinction between “learning time” and “mindless time”
“The objective isn’t for parents to just hand these devices over to their children. Instead, the games and ebooks provide examples of hands-on activities that parents can undertake with their toddlers in their kitchens and backyards to enhance vocabulary and content understanding in both languages, laying the groundwork for life-long learning. Instead of ignoring displays, it’s time to put them to good use in a truly modern manner.
So, tablets are a terrific learning tool as long as they are not used as a child’s primary source of learning. Children will always need to be able to read print books and do math by hand. There’s no arguing with that. However, tablets offer some significant prospects for self-sufficient, interactive learning that children will undoubtedly take advantage of in the future of education centered on laptop computers.
And, sorry, kid-free Twitter users vowing never to give their future child a tablet — we can’t hear you above the sound of our nonstop Zoom meeting.
Rethink the whole “gaming turns kids into zombies” mindset
Adolescents have even less approved screen time advice. One important area of interest, however, is socializing.
Your child who is always wanting to FaceTime a friend or form a squad in multiplayer Fortnite may be onto something: A 2021 study conducted by researchers at The University of Colorado Boulder discovered some interesting links between social screen time and healthier peer interactions in children aged 9 to 10.
The ability to hold hangout sessions virtually became blindingly important in the age of social distancing — but, with or without the possibility of meeting up in real life, various types of gaming and online hangouts (from the traditional console or computer gaming, to live streams on Twitch, to VR) are essentially cemented as part of the modern growing up experience. When they are not used as the exclusive way of connection, they might be valid socialization tools.
Video games, texting, and social networking haven’t gotten rid of the unpleasant side effects that come to mind right away. However, the analysis notes that these shaky correlations aren’t always casual and that the findings of this study, in particular, don’t raise the alarm that screen time impacts are relevant at the clinical level.
How to choose the right tablet for your kid
Most tablets designed exclusively for children will already include built-in parent accounts, timers, and pre-selected websites or apps that correspond to appropriate age groups. That’s all right.
General-purpose tablets aren’t a bad option at all — several sites include the iPad as one of the best tablets for kids, despite the fact that it’s theoretically for everyone. To create a similar guide net to the built-in parental controls that tablets designed expressly for children rely on, you’ll need to get inventive. Apple and Android include settings that allow you to filter content or block purchases, but real-time supervision is best accomplished with a legitimate parental control tool for iPads or Android tablets.
Osmo is a cool iPad and Fire Tablet add-on that makes the family tablet more kid-friendly. Moving a piece in real life causes it to move on screen, resulting in a cool mix of a tablet game, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving. Subjects include numbers, words, tangrams, and art, as well as supplementary packs for things like STEM or business-related arithmetic via a popular subject: pizza.
Things to consider when shopping for a kids’ tablet:
- Screen resolution: Whether HD, HD, or FHD will be enough depends on how many movies or games they plan to watch or play. 4K is probably extraneous fluff.
- Storage: They’ll most likely have more apps than you do, and they may require space for downloads such as offline Disney+ movies, music, or school materials.
- The extent to which parental controls are exercised: Sending your child off with a tablet is less stressful when you don’t have to guess what content they’re consuming.
- Ruggedness: Because kids are as destructive as they are charming, and you’ll feel much better if you have a case that can withstand some abuse.
Here are the top tablets to buy for your kids in 2022:
Fire HD 10 Kids Pro
Best combo of specs and kid content
- Screen resolution: 1,920 x 1,200
- Storage: 32GB (expandable up to 1TB)
- Battery life: 12 hours
Amazon’s kid-friendly tablets are more than just a Fire tablet dressed up in a nice cover. The new HD 10 Kids Pro is the best option to consider.
Kid stuff: A year’s subscription to Amazon Kids+ is included for free, and it’s what makes the Fire experience so good. School-aged children will have a field day with the library’s over 20,000 books, games, and educational apps from Nat like Geo, as well as access to apps like Disney+ if a parent grants permission. There is no YouTube app available.
Parent stuff: Setting limits on their child’s Fire Tablet does not need parents to jump through hoops. Amazon has built its straightforward parental controls directly into the system, making it simple to identify and modify screen time limits, age filters, limited access to specific apps, and scheduling. Amazon knows that 12-year-olds don’t want to see baby items, and 3-year-olds don’t want to see reading items.
Durability and specs: The rubberized casings (slimmer and cooler for older kids on the 10 Pro) were designed to endure drops, spills, and tugging while sharing. If a blunder occurs within the first two years, Amazon will replace it without question. A 12-hour battery life, HD display, and Dolby Atmos speakers enable repeated studying, playing, and streaming sessions without being tied to the wall.
Lenovo Chromebook Duet
- Resolution: 1920 x 1200
- Battery life: 13 hours
- Storage: 128GB
There are numerous low-cost, dependable Chromebooks available. However, tech companies have been less successful in translating the Chromebook experience into tablet form – at least at a price range that works for those on a budget. Many of those consumers were saved from having to pick between Chrome OS and tablet convenience by Lenovo’s debut of the convertible Chromebook Duet.
Kid stuff: Graduating from one grade to the next usually entails more online education — and more hauling about a personal computer. (At least in a non-pandemic environment.) The Duet’s capacity to function as a truly portable laptop replacement significantly extends its useful life for older pupils. A thin-and-light design is also required for little hands and backpacks to be carried easily. The Duet weighs between a pound and two pounds (depending on whether the keyboard is attached). It’s as simple as matching a couple of magnets to connect the keyboard.
Parent stuff: As long as Kids Mode is on, parents can leave their children to play and study without fear of them being exposed to inappropriate content. Each child has their own profile, which parents can configure by allowing certain applications and websites, limiting others, and setting time limits.
Given the internet security and user-friendly operating system that Chromebook laptops provide, it’s easy to see why parents would want such kid-friendly features in tablet form. Every web page or Chrome app has its own sandbox, ensuring that other aspects of the device are not vulnerable even if that page is compromised. Because most malware is designed for Windows or Mac, Chromebooks are rarely infected with viruses.
Durability and specs: Chromebooks, with the exception of the Google Pixelbook, aren’t exactly known for their power. The Duet, on the other hand, can keep up with anything an elementary, middle, or high school student could need to do. The octa-core CPU excels at word processing and video calls, and it should have no trouble with streaming apps. If you don’t want to pay $399 for the Duet with an OLED panel, the 1920 x 1200 resolution is very sharp for the price.
Best for teens
- Resolution: 2160 x 1620
- Storage: 64GB, 256GB
- Battery life: 10 hours
Older children require a tablet that can keep up with academics, function as a laptop, and entertain them beyond instructional games. The most recent edition of Apple’s most cheap iPad is a dependable powerhouse with a cool factor. There’s obviously no kid stuff pre-installed, but Apple has a slew of baby-proofing options that can be turned off as kids get older.
Educational stuff: General-purpose tablets leave it up to the user to download content, whereas the App Store has every educational path a child may pursue. Apps for essential abilities such as arithmetic, reading, and science are available, as are apps for more specialized interests such as biology, language learning, and test prep. The iPad’s augmented reality features will excite children, allowing them to immerse themselves in the world (or solar system) around them.
Parental controls: Nothing is pre-installed, so you’ll have to do the kid-proofing yourself. In the Restrictions page of your iPad’s settings, you can put a virtual lock on any app or make functions unavailable (Safari, iMessage, and Facebook are a few you may consider hiding). The “Allowed Content” page includes movie and website choices, such as disabling specific URLs or allowing just G-rated movies to play. Installing parental control software such as Kaspersky Safe Kids or Qustodio is a quick solution for an extra set of eyes.
Durability and specs: Apple manages to squeeze more and more technical elements into each entry-level iPad while keeping the price low. A faster A13 Bionic Chip and sharper graphics are among the improvements over the previous model. The first-generation Apple Pencil is also supported, which will be appreciated by artistic children or those who take notes on paper and pencil.
Kindle Paperwhite Kids
- Resolution: 1236 x 1648
- Storage: 8 GB
- Battery life: Up to 10 weeks
Amazon announced the debut of its second kid-ified e-reader in fall 2021: the crowd-favorite Paperwhite, but in a wonderfully attractive casing. It’s the obvious pick over the previous Kindle Kids Edition for a young reader, with much-needed spec enhancements that’ll make conquering a reading list all the more engaging.
Education stuff: The Kindle Paperwhite Kids includes a year of Amazon Kids+, which contains thousands of popular books and Audible items for kids – everything from new favorites to history lessons made entertaining, to classics like the complete Harry Potter series. They’ll also have access to two useful reading tools: “Vocabulary Builder,” which generates flashcards from any words they look up in the device’s built-in dictionary, and “Word Wise,” which displays short definitions over difficult words to keep students going.
Parental controls: This Paperwhite comes with a large library of age-appropriate books pre-loaded, but parents can add or delete titles based on their child’s preferences. They can also use the Parent Dashboard to set a bedtime, check reading progress, or modify age filters to avoid seeing anything they shouldn’t. (It can’t access games, apps, videos, or an internet browser, so there’s not much to see, to begin with.)
Durability and specs: In comparison to the earlier Kindle Kids (which is still available for as little as $64.99 on sale), the 6.8-inch Paperwhite is waterproof and improves screen resolution from 167 to 300 PPI. (This distinction is most noticeable on larger-format book cover photos.) The glare-free e-ink display has four times the number of LEDs in the backlight as the previous kids’ Kindle, as well as an adjustable warm light. Up to ten weeks’ worth of books can be read before the battery needs to be recharged. It’s also waterproof!
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite
Best option with an included stylus
- Resolution: 2000 x 1200
- Storage: 64GB, 128GB
- Battery life: 7 hours
The investment becomes considerably more justified if it’s a tablet that the entire family will use, but that requires meeting adult specs without exceeding a child’s simplicity of use. Everyone in your Android home may utilize the lite version of one of Samsung’s premium tablets.
Educational stuff: The Samsung Kids interface is specifically designed to blend fun and learning while introducing children to computer literacy and the use of a touchscreen. Kids can explore safe activities, novels, and TV episodes while getting to know Croco, Cooki, Lisa, and Bobby, the adorable cartoon animals with whom they will be playing. A subscription to Samsung Kids+ provides access to even more parent-approved games such as Toca Boca and TV shows such as Lego Batman. Kids who enjoy drawing or taking notes by hand may appreciate the bundled S-Pen.
Parent stuff: A simple PIN saves parents the trouble of having to use a tablet filled with kid controls. Parents can place limitations on their child’s usage and control the stuff they see in Parental Control Mode. Parent mode, of course, has an entirely different UI (the default one for all Galaxy tablets). Different members of the family can create profiles and have their own adult accounts.
Specs and durability: The price increase from Samsung’s entry-level budget tablets (the A and A7) is primarily due to the addition of stylus capability and the inclusion of the S-Pen with purchase. However, as a “light” version of the standard S6, it retains a lot of good specs for the price of the most basic iPad. The 2000 x 1200 display is stunning, the Dolby Atmos stereo speakers are powerful, and the processor easily supports Adobe and Microsoft OneNote.
Apple iPad Air
Best IOS tablet for families to share
- Resolution: 2224 x 1668
- Storage: 64 GB, 256 GB
- Battery life: 10 hours
The new iPad Air suffers from “middle child syndrome,” since it sits between the entry-level iPad and the big, scary iPad Pros. The lack of a home button reveals that the iPad Air is far more Pro than it appears. Even older children will not feel embarrassed about having to discuss this with their parents.
Kid stuff: Because all iPads are general-purpose devices, parents (or children, if they’re old enough) will decide which apps to download. The App Store conveniently houses thousands of education-related apps for various age groups and interests, ranging from basic math and reading to biology with augmented reality or college exam prep.
Parent stuff: Because there isn’t a universal “child mode” for iPads, it’s up to parents to fiddle with settings or install parental control software. At the very least, the iPad’s Restrictions page allows you to virtual lock any app or make functionalities unavailable (Safari, the App Store, iMessage, and Facebook are a few you may consider hiding). Even if a responsible older child does not require their users to be monitored 24 hours a day, this is useful for keeping them from becoming sidetracked during homework hours.
Durability and specs: With their sharp images and no-lag screen, schoolwork may actually be entertaining. The upgraded A14 Bionic chip is responsible for the 2020 Air’s 40 percent faster responsiveness than the previous model. Graphics on the sharp Retina display look fantastic, as do the 4K films captured by the improved 12 MP camera. Compare it to a standard iPad or a Fire HD tablet to observe the aesthetic difference.
Lenovo Tab M8
Best battery life
- Resolution: 1280 x 800
- Storage: 32GB
- Battery life: Up to 20 hours
Middle school students want to feel self-sufficient while also looking stylish. They’ve outgrown the necessity for carefully picked instructional games and won’t be caught dead with a bright bumper case. Graduating to a premium business tablet, such as an iPad, may also be premature. Something like the Lenovo Tab M8 is perfectly up a tween’s alley, and the price tag won’t have parents worried about their child carrying the tablet like a third limb.
Kid stuff: It’s quick and simple to switch between an ordinary mode for parents and Kid’s Mode 3.0. Kid’s Mode is a separate account that, like most other child-friendly suites, removes the blinders and pulls out kid-specific content such as games, apps, videos, and audio. To combat light sensitivity, the eye protection mode is automatically activated. Google’s Kid Space will also be available soon.
Parent stuff: With the Kid’s Mode parental controls, parents may now set time limits for their children. If children above the age of 12 do not wish to be confined within children’s content, parents can choose parental restrictions elsewhere (Google Family Link is a good one). Unlike Fire tablets, Lenovo tablets provide a genuine Android experience without the hassle of sideloading random Google apps.
Durability and specs: With an amazing 83 percent screen-to-body ratio – sleekness that can be ascribed to narrow bezels — the screen on an 8-inch tablet appears much larger. A resolution of 1280 x 800 is sufficient, and the Dolby Atmos speakers make up for any lack of amusement. These specifications complement each other perfectly, allowing a single battery charge to last up to 20 hours.
Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition
Safest for little hands
- Resolution: 1024 x 600
- Storage: 16 GB
- Battery life: 7 hours
Nobody does kids’ tablets better than Amazon, and the Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet for 2019 is merely an extension of that expertise.
Kid stuff: As previously stated, Amazon FreeTime Unlimited is Amazon’s membership program designed particularly for children aged 3 to 12. Over 20,000 kid-friendly apps featuring characters from Disney, Nickelodeon (to feed the Peppa Pig addiction, of course), and others are available, saving parents from having to sift through an entire App Store. The first year is free; after that, you’ll pay $2.99 per month if you have Amazon Prime, or $4.99 per month if you don’t.
Parent stuff: Everything said regarding parental controls and Amazon Free Time with the aforementioned Fire HD 8 is the same as with the Fire 7 — the same age filters and time limitations, the same optional blocking of apps like YouTube or Minecraft, and the same simple switch between kids’ profiles. We will, however, continue to emphasize how fantastic and user-friendly FreeTime is. It monitors your children’s usage so you don’t have to, and the kid content is so clever that kids don’t even realize they’re learning or being watched.
Durability and specs: The Fire 7 has a lower resolution than the Fire HD 8 and no Dolby Atmos speakers. It does, however, support expanded storage up to 512 GB and the use of Alexa with parental controls enabled.
LeapFrog LeapPad Academy
Best for preschoolers
- Resolution: 1024 x 600
- Storage: 16 GB
- Battery life: 7 hours
The LeapFrog LeapPad Academy is a terrific beginner tablet for little ones who aren’t yet accustomed to mobile device life. It’s designed for children ages 3-8.
Educational stuff: The LeapPad Academy comes pre-loaded with over 20 educator-approved apps to help your child improve their arithmetic, reading, writing, coding, problem-solving, and creativity skills, as well as access to the LeapFrog App Center and its 750+ learning games, eBooks, and videos (each sold separately). It also comes with a three-month free trial of the LeapFrog Academy membership program (usually $7.99 per month or $39.99 per year), which includes some cool “just-for-me” technology: It adapts its games to your child’s skillset and learning speed by following his or her process. (There is no access to video content such as that available on YouTube or Netflix.)
Parental controls: With this one, LeapFrog has pretty much thought of everything, so parents can sit back and relax — although there is a password-protected parental control function where parents can tailor their children’s experiences and set time restrictions for playing (and for how long they have to wait between playing). LeapSearch, a kid-friendly web browser, can only access websites that have been pre-selected by LeapFrog’s learning experts, and parents love that they can feel safe letting their child play without constant monitoring.
Durability and specs: The LeapPad Academy has front and back cameras, 480p video capture, a seven-hour rechargeable battery, a stylus, and a shatter-proof touchscreen.
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