PDA's of all sorts are more common today than ever before. Whether it's a palm pilot or a smartphone, increasing numbers of people are finding a need for the on-the-go computing and storage capabilities that a PDA offers. LeapFrog, an educational product developer, realized that where there are fancy new gadgets, there are children just dying to play with them.
They commissioned a study from Harris Interactive called "Save Your PDA", which interviewed parents about how their children acted around their PDA devices. The results were as fascinating as they were hilarious; 32% of parents reported children changing their settings, and 23% reported them smearing the keypad or screen with food. 51% reported their children placing calls (16% of them to 911), and 9% said that their children dropped their phones in the garbage at least once.
LeapFrog looked at the results of the study and saw that children were fascinated with personal digital devices. In response, they have released the Text & Learn kid's PDA. The Text & Learn looks a little like a BlackBerry and it has a full QWERTY keyboard so children can learn how to type and identify their alphabet on it. The Text & Learn will be loaded with educational games to teach children the basics of PDA usage, as well as typing and letter identification skills. The LeapFrog Text & Learn is available now, for $21.99 from Toys "R" Us.
This is a very good idea from LeapFrog. Building tech skills early is crucial nowadays, and a toy like this will help to get kids used to the 'digital age' before they can even pronounce it. My favorite piece of data from LeapFrog's study was the fact that 12% of parents discovered new features on their devices as a result of their kid's screwing around with them. Children have a thirst to learn about these things; they like cool gadgets as much as we do. If LeapFrog can find a way to use that love to teach kids how to read and write, than more power to them.