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ipad kids

Kids playing interactive games on an Apple iPad. Photo - iPadnGravy

For a family, it is increasingly becoming a necessity to have more than one iPad. Suresh Kumar, who works for IBM and resides in the United Arab Emirates says despite tablet computer considered as a luxury, having iPads at his home is a must.

“I have an iPad but it’s usually a fight between my two daughters aged 4 and 7 vying for the tablet computer,” the computer specialist said.

According to the consumer data research company Neilsen, iPad is the most-wanted holiday gift for the second year in a row in the US.

The phenomenal success iPad achieved is now getting carried on with other tablet makers too like the Kindle Fire, which is sold for less than half the price of an iPad. As per Amazon, Black Friday shoppers bought four times as many Kindle devices compared to last year.

As per Forrester, the US-based research company, Apple has sold about 40 million iPads since the product’s debut last year, and it may sell a record 20 million iPads globally during the holiday season.

What is more interesting is the fact that the market is growing not just for tablet computers but also for apps for kids. Rex Ishibashi, chief executive officer of Callaway Digital Arts, puts the US market for kids’ iPads apps at more than $500 million.

According to the consumer research company BlueKai Inc., most iPad buyers have children and they share the device with their kids. Right from the first moment a kid starts using an iPad, he or she is bound to get hooked to it. The amazing ‘touch and it moves’ feeling combined with interactive multimedia applications is something that ticks children. In fact, the ‘touch’ sense that these devices offer has made kids want them on all devices, including TV and even a book.

In order to capitalise on the growing apps market, companies ranging from Walt Disney to small startups are developing games, interactive books and other software to appeal to children.

Disney has iPad game linked to its movie “Cars” in which kids can drive a small plastic car along a road shown on the iPad. Other companies such as Bertelsmann AG’s Random House, Oceanhouse Media Inc., Callaway Digital Arts and TouchyBooks have all released apps aimed at kids.

One of the most popular game on the Internet, Rovio’s Angry Birds set a new game record recently by hitting 500 million downloads in less than two years since its release.

PARENTAL WOES

If parents were already not concerned about their kids glued to TV sets and game consoles, now iPad is compounding their worries. Children welfare advocates advise parents not to use iPad as a ‘Digital Pacifier’.

Victoria Nash, a researcher at Oxford Internet Institute said: “We know already that there are dangers with watching too much television and doing too much online gaming”.

There is also a dangerous trend that kids might get upset when they are restricted from playing with iPads. Rayees Harris, contracts manager at Parsons company says: “My 13- ear-old son goes crazy when we don’t give it to him”.

SECURITY CONCERNS

Experts say iPad is not as vulnerable as Android or Windows. However, they caution that this may not be the case anymore as the market is growing at a breakneck pace and is potentially bound to attract cyber criminals.

Apple’s App Store has very few security products on its shelves. One of the reason for that is there is no need for it yet. Apple has cleverly designed iPad memory to dramatically minimise the damage that a potential malware or virus could cause to it, by containing the app in its own sandbox.

Sources: Bloomberg, eSecurity Planet

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