E-readers can add to reading experience for kids
For basic readers, try the basic Kindle (without ads go for around $90) or the Nook SimpleTouch (about $80). They are both solid devices. Look for and invest in heavy duty covers for protection. No electronic device is child proof.
Both Kindle and Nook support children's books, have basic parental controls and a very long battery life. Just remember, they are not multipurpose devices, they are readers. I know there are full featured Android tablets out there for the same or less, but the hardware is also worth less, and is often worthless. If the device does not function what's the point?
For multipurpose devices, I like the Kindle Fire. It does cost more. The Kindle Fire starts at $160 with ads, $180 without. The ads are not age specific. I'm sure you would not want them for a child. The Kindle fire allows other e-reader apps so you are not bound to only Amazon ebook formats. If you purchase with ad initially, you can pay the difference to remove them at any time.
I have 11-year-old twin girls. I read to my children almost daily the time they were about 4 months old. I no longer read to them as they are avid readers now. My children are part of a monthly book club; actual hardcover books delivered monthly (a gift from a relative). Additionally, my children's school encourages reading by offering incentives for passing book quizzes. I wanted these devices to add to not replace books in their reading experience.
I favor the multipurpose device because my children do not have computers, phones or handheld gaming devices. I bought them Kindle Fire HDs when they were 10. I refused to buy a $200 mobile device that only plays games. I chose the HD model for the camera so they could also video Skype with their grandparents.
Many public libraries have a selection of e-books to check out. The app Overdrive Media is the one that is used by my library. I have it on my iPad and have it installed on my children's Kindles. Our library offers a rotating selection of ebooks to check out for standard periods and a constant selection of classics in the public domain that have no required return dates. Amazon does have a large Lending library -- for Amazon Prime members. I have found navigating it to be a challenge when trying to find something specific. Its much easier to just browse when you don't have a specific book/genre in mind.
The Kindle Fire HD has very basic parental controls that prevent purchases. It also has an app, FreeTime, that creates an environment for younger children in which you set up profiles for each child. In this environment, the child can only access what you assign to their profile. The only thing you need to make sure of is that you do not assign any app that has ads that access the internet or Amazon stores. Those apps WILL breach the FreeTime environment. I have tested this. It is not stated anywhere in the info about FreeTime but this is a real security hole that exists. So if you want them to read books only, you assign the books they can read.
FreeTime does not work for my children. They needed monitored free exploration. I use the basic Kindle parental controls and I side loaded a parental control app, Funamo and its save browser. With Funamo I can set time limits on specific apps, block sites using specific language or blacklist specific sites completely, monitor the sites my children have visited. Additionally, I have blocked the Amazon store and their browser, Silk, while allowing assess to the Amazon Bookstore. The Silk browser actually suggests sites to visit that I felt were not appropriate for my children's age by default and I couldn't find a way to block that. (My kids do not need to keep up with the Kardashians or any other gossip sites...)
With the current set up my children can:
• Check out ebooks from our local library
• Browse for and read ebooks purchased from Amazon (password approval needed)
• Browse the internet
• Research and type (using my bluetooth keyboard) school papers and reports
• Check our family calendar
Since I allow games (again, they do not have other devices) they can:
• Browse games and play, but purchase only with my approval and play within set time/day limits
• Watch movies from our home video server
To protect against loss or theft, I only allow the kids to take their Kindles from the house when I am with them on long(ish) car trips. For short trips they are allowed to bring a book(s) or drawing materials. They have clipboard cases with room inside for paper and pens/pencils.
Was this reply helpful? (1) (0)