My 6-year-old son has an iPad. Sort of. “His” iPad is the first-generation iPad 1 I bought for myself in 2010. When I upgraded to the third-gen iPad, I reconfigured the old one for him. Likewise, a friend’s 8-year-old daughter has her old Kindle. Lots of kids (and a fair number of parents and spouses) are inheriting devices when the alpha geeks in their families upgrade. It’s a great form or recycling, but the companies that make the devices could do a much better job of enabling the hand-me-down transition, especially for devices that go to children.
The issue is that, when a child inherits a media-reading device, like tablet or an e-reader, usually that device stays on the parent’s content plan. Apps and books bought on the parents’ accounts then appear on the kids’ devices. It makes things easy to manage in one sense, since you don’t want to give a six-year-old a credit card and an iTunes account just so they can get new games. It also leads to problems.
Like my kid having the Plague, Inc. game that I got for my iPad show up on his. Or my friend’s daughter seeing a book she bought about parenting on her Kindle. You get the picture. You could mess up a kid good by inadvertently sending them your grown-up content.
Now, the iPad at least does have parental controls, so you can lock a kid out from seeing various Web sites, or buying apps, and things like that. But that’s a different issue from the kid having a device that is basically on the same account as your device. We need kids’ products to have a tall bookshelf: My parents, for example, kept the Henry Miller novels up there. I want the same for the new electronic bookshelves we’re giving our kids access to.
The opportunity I’m highlighting this time is obvious for hardware manufacturers: Make your devices work nicely when the original owner hand one down to a kid or other family member and wants to keep the device on its original account. I think there’s also an opportunity for software and service makers, especially those in the media space, but I’m going to leave that as an exercise for the reader.
50 Shades of Grey Boosting Kindle Sales (Gizmodo Australia)
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