We’ve all seen them, those cute little toddlers and their itty bitty fingers, just swiping away on your brand new iPhone’s hi-res display. Locking the screen only works the first couple of times. Soon enough they’re calling your friends, beating your high scores and rearranging your icons. It’s hardly shocking anymore when we see it and my kids will likely grow up thinking every screen they see is a touch-sensitive display.
Withholding the obvious dangers of a toddler playing with your fragile smartphone, studies have shown that interactions with such devices have very positive influences on young minds. Benefits go beyond seeing shapes and colors. Kids quickly grasp an understanding of “input equals output.” Some children under the age of 5 are picking up on new technology faster than a lot of mature adults. So who are phone and app developers considering?
Perhaps just over a year ago, not much thought was being put into accommodating toddler use (or abuse) of mobile technology. Soon enough, apps began showing up in the App Store that were deemed “Just for Kids.” Windows phone implemented an entire mode setting for their latest devices called “Kid’s Corner” that’s basically like signing into your phone as a guest user; controlling which apps, settings and media are available to them.
Amazon also recently launched a new paid service for their Kindle devices called FreeTime. A similar service to Windows Phone’s Kid’s Corner, FreeTime allows you to password protect a section of your device, leaving only a pre-packaged collection of applications and media. Time constraints on usage can also be assigned to different app categories and Amazon users pay about $3 a month for the service.
I know if I were recommending advertisements in mobile game apps for clients, I would consider starting to adjust my target market to a new breed – the techy toddler. I can hear it now, “Mommy, I was playing Angry Birds and it told me I could have a free frozen treat from Dairy Queen.” Cha-ching!
Technology and software developers have begun to adapt to a toddler near you, have you?