Tablets are an evermore ubiquitous part of 21st century life, and children are increasingly comfortable using them from young ages. While there are concerns – too much screen time; the dangers of the internet; losing sleep – they can be useful educational learning tools一本道理不卡一二三区 and provide entertainment.
Thankfully, there aren't too many specialised children's tablets around, so you don't have to sift through hundreds of similar products to find the right one. And for many, the best option is simply an iPad with parental controls (which we've reviewed below) – potentially a hand-me-down to save money.
一本道理不卡一二三区That said, it's worth considering something age specific, which can come pre-loaded with appropriate games and educational tools.
Below, we take a look at the best tablets for kids currently on the market.
1. Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids edition 8 inch display
For ages 3-12
一本道理不卡一二三区Arguably the perfect tablet for children, Amazon's Fire HD 8 Kids comes with a sturdy, child-proof foam case to prevent against drops and bumps (but not smears and smudges) and a two years "no questions asked" guarantee. The latest version of the product also comes with a handy stand so kids don't have to weary their tired little arms carrying it around, they can watch from a table or desk.
The Amazon Fire Kids requires users to sign up to Amazon Fire for Kids Unlimited, which is free for the first year but then costs £1.99 per month for Amazon Prime Members. The service provides age-targeted educational content like maths and reading apps as well as books and games, split into categories from three to five, six to eight and nine to 12.
一本道理不卡一二三区The parental controls are second to none. For example, you can set up password-protected profiles so your child can access only the books, games or apps you want them to. You can set bedtime curfews and limits on-screen time and content; videos and games can be blocked until educational goals like reading are attained; and Fire for Kids Unlimited prevents social media and in-app purchases without parental consent.
The device arrives loaded with child-friendly apps and books, like Paw Patrol and Harry Potter, while you can give your child access to a library linked to your own Netflix account.
Amazon says the tablet is suitable for ages three to 12, but we think the tablet could start to feel childish and stale for some older children. Younger children will probably need a fair bit of parental guidance when picking games or videos to play.
Battery life is an impressive 12 hours for the eight-inch model – which is a good size for smaller hands – and it comes with 32 GB of storage as standard. The latest version has a faster processor too meaning impatient kids will spend even less time waiting for their favourite games and apps to load.
One downside is that the tablet doesn't give you access to App Store or Google Play, so you have to make do with Amazon's version – there are, however, plenty of options.
- Also available is the
2. Apple iPad 2019 9.7 inch
For ages 6-14
Apple has updated the iPad to provide even more focused technology and education services for young people. While not a tablet specifically designed for children, there are some safeguards in place that can make this a good tablet for slightly older kids. Apple allows users to create a family sharing Apple ID for your child, which means it can be used by under 13s. The account will curb what the child can buy and parents can set restrictions and protect them with a pin.
Apple has also added new screen time limits which can be controlled from your iPhone, launching with its next update, iOS 12. Any family sharing accounts can have time limits set on social media apps, games or Netflix. If they run out of time, your child can send a request for more time – if refused, they'll just have to make do without the app for the rest of the day.
Parents can also limit access to Safari, music, apps, videos, games, the camera and, thankfully, the in-app purchases.
一本道理不卡一二三区Until these screen time limits are enabled you will have fewer ways to edit how much your child can use the iPad, so there is an element of involvement. It is also more expensive and fragile than Amazon's tablet. That said, the iPad 2018 does offer access to far more games and features (whether that's a good thing is up to you) and is useful for education or homework. , for instance, is a programme that teaches children how to code.
A slightly larger screen makes this a suitable option for watching films and cartoons. Also available in silver or gold. Unlike most specialist children's tablets, the iPad doesn't come with a case, so it's worth picking up a sturdy one. ; or you can get a in a variety of colours.
3. Pebble Gear Kids Tablet
一本道理不卡一二三区On the face of it, there's a lot to enjoy about the Pebble Gear. It's a nice size and comfortable for small hands to grasp with a seven-inch screen wrapped up in a soft rubbery shell that's made of the same drop proof, shock-absorbent material as the Fire For Kids.
What Pebble Gear has over Fire For Kids is a branded Disney tie-in which sees the tablet coming in either a Frozen II case in icy blue or a snazzy bright yellow Toy Story 4 equivalent. For a little fans of the films, it's hard to see how these wouldn't be attractive. The tie-in continues inside with the screen savers, built-in games, and user icons all reflecting your chosen tablet's exterior.
Each tablet comes with three basic games and a couple of very basic books; then you can plug in a microSD card to give your little one/s access to media content that you install yourself. There's also a limited app store filled with hand-picked apps which are all guaranteed to be ad and microtransaction free for your peace of mind. There's also a very mysterious 'learning' tab, but no matter what apps I downloaded, I couldn't find a single thing to go in it, so just ignore that.
For parents, there's a dashboard where you can set limits on the times of day the tablet can be used, and time limits so they don't go on playing forever, as well as seeing exactly which apps they're using and for how long.
一本道理不卡一二三区But despite all these positives, I still feel a bit weird about the Pebble Gear. There are various missed opportunities. I've already mentioned the unused 'Learning' panel but what about the two cameras that appear to be completely inaccessible? And why no Bluetooth settings so you can't connect Bluetooth headphones?
All in all, the tablet feels a bit like an underpowered Fire For Kids with less functionality and lower specs. If you're deadset against supporting Amazon or have diehard Disney fans in the house then it's a serviceable alternative, but I'd stick with the former if I were you.
4. LeapFrog LeapPad Ultimate
For ages 3-9
For younger children, this tablet from educators provides games and videos while keeping things simple by limiting the tablet's access to the internet; your son or daughter won't be able to purchase apps, for example.
But it comes pre-loaded with apps, games and puzzles for educational content in maths, reading and science to help kids with learning. Similarly priced to the Amazon Fire, it does offer a little less, but is designed more for the education of younger children. The specs say roughly ages three to nine, but we think some nine-year olds will find it a little childish.
The LeapPad doesn't have access to quite the range of content you could load onto, say, an iPad. But if you want a piece of technology with simple and educational games that will keep the kids occupied, you can't go far wrong. However, don't be surprised when they are eyeing up your tablet again for more apps before too long.
一本道理不卡一二三区The warranty only lasts a year, and the battery life is five hours. It does feel quite sturdy to hold, helped by the large bumper and a shatter-safe screen. The screen, at seven inches, is the right size for younger children. Comes in pink as well as the green.
Should I get a tablet for my children?
Tablets can provide a very useful and fun educational tool for your child, while offering entertainment for when they get bored. However, it's important children balance time using them with other activities, and it's worth noting some of the negative aspects.
With a quarter of under twos and over a third of three- to five-year olds一本道理不卡一二三区 owning a tablet, there's no denying they're a huge part of modern life.
But experts have discovered several reasons to be cautious. A found that toddlers and babies as young as six months are losing sleep due to tablet use. According to the research, every hour spent in front of a screen led to a loss of 16 to 17 minutes of sleep. Similarly, an investigation last year suggested tablets could impair a child's speech development.
There are many benefits, of course, but it's important to control how much your child uses his or her tablet; there's a reason Silicon Valley's big shots famously limit their own children's tech use. While there is no official guidance at the moment, earlier this year the government's into screen use and social media among youngsters.
What age should children be given tablets?
There's no definitive answer, and there are tablets out there for toddlers to teens, but there are some basic rules to follow when searching for a children's tablet. Always look for devices that have child-friendly safe web browsers – these will curate content so your kids don't get access to the nasty stuff.
It's also worth noting that supposedly child-friendly apps like YouTube can be the least safe – you're never too many clicks away from something nefarious. So adopting safety measures for children of all ages is paramount. Amazon's Fire lets you control the books, games and apps they see, while LeapPads significantly limits what's on offer (though this means children may grow out of it quite quickly).
What specs should I look out for?
You don't need something too complex, and the tablets mentioned are all pretty simple to use – both for adults and for kids. Don't get too bogged down on RAM and resolution. What your child needs is something with plenty of battery life; enough storage for plenty of games and apps (the Amazon Fire's 32 GB is good on this front); and a screen that's not too big (which can be tough for younger children to manipulate), nor too small (so they can actually see what's going on). Around seven or eight inches is good for younger children, while the iPad's 9.7-inch screen is ideal for older children and young teens.