Yes Christmas is coming… don’t you just love this time of the year, cold crispy mornings that can still be quite sunny, the hats and scarves come out and it’s time to start thinking about Christmas pressies.
What’s your favourite Christmas tipple for an aperitif? Mine’s a small whiskey, mixed with more whiskey, which as far as I’m concerned is the only thing you mix with a good scotch. So with approximately 6 weeks left till Christmas, most of us will be making our Christmas presents list and you can bet that electronic devices will figure quite highly.
Word has it that for every boy and girl, the new Nintendo console, the Nintendo Switch, is going to be a must have. That’s assuming they didn’t get their hands on one when it came out earlier this year. Briefly, the Switch is a home console that easily converts to portable play using the one unit. And of course it is just as easily adapted as an online device. Parents get ready, this is the latest must have obsession from the little ones right up to teens.
As you become bombarded and sucked into the search for the right gadget that will put a smile on their faces, here’s a mix of the top ten tech gifts based on a combination of John Lewis and Amazon Christmas tech lists.
- Nintendo Switch
- Smart watch
- Lego Boost – helps children to develop their coding skills, with a free app. Most of the new toys for the very young this year introduces them to coding and comes with some kind of app
- Amazon’s Echo – a SMART speaker featuring a built-in personal assistant that responds to what you tell it and plays just about any song through Spotify. It can also help you out with the shopping by ordering things for you online
- Apple Watch Series 2 – new generation software and hardware
- PlayStation VR – new generation virtual reality games console
- Knomo Battery Power Pack 10,000 – the 10,000mAh battery is powerful enough to recharge a smartphone five times or a tablet twice
- PlayMation – wearable smart technology that is connected to a smartphone and tablet app
So there it is, chose carefully as this is probably one of the most important decisions you will make for the rest of the year. Good luck!
Once you’ve done all the research and made your pick, please be aware that with the fast move towards internet connected SMART toys comes a severe warning. While these toys may be easily made internet ready, they are mostly far more unsecure technology than those we’re use to for normal domestic use. Many of the new generation tech toys now encourage youngsters to talk to them and I’m sure you know there’s no stopping kids when they start to talk. And the toys are very willing listeners, but so too are the invisible hackers and whackers who lurk in the darkness, eavesdropping on every word. This has caused none other than the FBI to put out a general alert to parents, advising them to carefully check internet-connected toys for possible privacy and security concerns. In their alert, they warn parents that security safeguards for these toys can be overlooked in the rush to market them and to make them easy to use. A number of kids’ toys have been found to be indirectly spying on children by collecting and storing data, including audio conversations and personal information, without parents’ knowledge. The FBI goes on to say that that in addition to eavesdropping toys, a number of app developers and websites have been identified for inadequate protections on accounts and data for children. Bluetooth-connected toys that do not have authentication requirements such as PINs or passwords when pairing with the mobile devices could pose a risk for unauthorized access to the toy and allow communications with your child. It is also possible for unauthorized users to remotely gain access to the toy if the security measures used for these connections are insufficient or the device is compromised.
I would wholeheartedly support the FBI’s warning and suggest that before buying any of these toys, you need to do your own online research for any known issues that have been identified by security researchers or in any of the consumer reports. And even after purchase, you must keep a careful watch for anything untoward that may place your child in danger.
So here’s the thing… I know your kiddies will be clamouring for these gadgets, especially now that Christmas is upon us, but you don’t have to give electronic devises as gifts if you’re not sure about safety. Alternatively, if you feel you do not want to deprive your youngsters, and after all many of these toys actually make education enjoyable and entertaining, you should be able to talk to your children about the safety concerns. That’s easier said than done, a lot of parents don’t know how to get started on this kind of discussion. I’m therefore recommending some additional Christmas presents.
If you look, you will see two buttons attached to the sidebar to the left of this blogpost. These are books I have written to help parents and teachers open up discussion with youngsters about internet safety. The first is a picture storybook for the 6 – 9 year olds, all about the adventures of the e-Kidz in cyberspace. It is a great story and raises the issues in a non-threatening way as part of the exciting storyline, things you can pick up on and talk about with your child. The second is an adventure novel for the 10 – 13 year olds, a great read based on the same storyline and covering the same concerns as the picture book, but obviously geared towards an older audience.
Additionally, you will soon be able to purchase accompanying workbooks for each storybook, one with activities for youngsters based on the story and the other a parents and teachers support book to help you take youngsters through the activities. The workbooks will be ready in the New Year 2018, so why not get started on the storybook by placing one under the Christmas tree alongside that great new electronic device? You can order direct from the sidebar button, paying via Pay Pal or directly using your debit or credit card. Be assured that both methods are secure payment methods.
So now it’s coffee time and I invite you as you enjoy your favourite cup, to have a sneak preview of the e-Kidz books by reading this summary of the story-line.
“In a puff of smoke and a lightning flash, a genie appeared from the computer. “Your wish is my command” and whisks the e-Kidz off into cyber-space, to play games for ever and ever as they had wished. With their their wish come true, it is no ordinary game however as the genie gives them a dangerous mission to complete: “Clean up the Internet.” The kids embark on an exciting surf-ride across the World Wide Web on supped-up surfboards, encountering dangerous cyber-villains along the way in the shape of computer threats, bugs, cookies and evil pop-ups, viruses, trojans and chat-room predators looking to groom the kids. The journey takes them across the super-highway to the centre of the WWW when the youngest e-Kid is kidnapped by predators trying to groom him for their nasty desires. In the final conflict they will meet the evil web-master who has taken over the WWW and is responsible for all the bad things we face on the internet. Tackling the global concern of internet safety in an interesting and accessible way, we see the battle play out as the future of the world depends on the e-Kidz, who are the new electronic generation.”
Happy Christmas shopping!