The bright screens of a digital tablet and the vivid, colorful images on them draw a child’s attention in no time. That is perhaps why children often ask their parents for one.
But is it a good idea to get kids their own tablet? The answer is yes and no because it depends on how and how much you allow the child to use it. Digital devices such as tablets can help the child widen their scope of knowledge and delve deep into the subjects of their interest but their overuse can impact the child’s eyes and brain as well.
Also, parents need to closely monitor their child’s online activity, and put some restrictions. If you have weighed the pros and cons, and decided to buy a tablet for your child, then you need to know how to pick the right one.
In this MomJunction post, we tell you about the criterion to choose the right tablet and share a list some of the best tablets for kids.
How To Pick The Right Tablet For Kids?
Below are the four essential points to keep in mind when buying a kids’ tablet.
- Age of the child: The age of the child determines their expectation from the tablet. Young children who are just beginning to go to school will be okay with basic tablets that do not have a conventional OS (Android and iOS). It is when the child is older than six that they are likely to demand ‘real’ tablets like the one they see mom and dad using.
- Parental control features: Parental lock is an important attribute that allows parents to prevent children from visiting certain websites and block access to some apps. The parental control features are the hallmark of kids’ tablets.
- Apps and services: Most tablets come with default apps and services. Check what apps come pre-installed and if they are appropriate for children. If the tablet is likely to have something inappropriate, then you have to clean it up before letting the child use it.
- Accessories and protection: Children may not always have a strong grip when holding something delicate. Prefer a tablet that ships with a free case or a bumper for protection. A limited replacement warranty and damage insurance are also useful.
Whichever tablet you choose, make tablet use a safe experience for your child. In the next section, we provide a few tips on how to strike a balance between fun and safety when a child uses a tablet.
Tips For Tablet Usage In Children
- Screen time: Children should not have more than two hours of screen time each day (1). The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents only allow an hour of screen time for their child (2). It is hard to convince children, especially teenagers, to use the tablet for no more than a couple of hours. However, you can set some ground rules before giving the tablet to the child. Spreading the time across the day is an excellent way to prevent the tablet use all in one go.
- Avoid tablet use in bedroom: Set a designated place where the child can use the tablet, while in a seated position. It is ideal to avoid tablet use in the bedroom since it may interfere with sleep. Media consumption is best avoided one hour before bedtime (3). Other good practices are taking a break by looking away from the screen every 20 minutes.
- Adequate distance from the eyes: The tablet screen should be about a foot away from the child’s eyes. Staring at a screen that is held close to the eyes can cause eye fatigue and also affect vision in the long run.
- Review the child’s usage on the device: Take a look at the tablet every once in a week. It is a good way to check if the device happened to download files or apps that are inappropriate for the child. Reviewing the device is also a nice way to update any parental control settings.
Next, we give you a list of tablets that you can choose from.
11 Best Tablets For Children
For your convenience, we have divided the list into two sections, according to the child’s age range.
Tablets for children up to nine years old
1. VTech Little Apps Tablet
This VTech tablet is ideal for first-time users, especially toddlers, who are just starting school. If you want something ultra basic, then you should consider this one.
- The tablet has large alphabet keys and buttons that are easy for a child to operate. A slider on top lets the child easily switch between various activities.
- It has 12 learning activities, including learning letters, words, numbers, counting, and days of a calendar.
- The screen has basic graphics that a child can easily understand. A dedicated button lets one change the backlight of the screen to various colors.
- The tablet works on two AA size batteries and needs no charging. An auto shut-off feature turns the tablet off after 90 seconds of inactivity.
- The lack of a real OS in the tablet means that you cannot upgrade and hence, your choices are limited to the activities shipped by the manufacturer.
- The child will quickly outgrow the tablet due to the fundamental nature of its functions.
2. VTech InnoTab 3
The InnoTab comes close to providing a real tablet experience for kids, thanks to its excellent interface and multiple applications.
- The highlights of the tablet are its touchscreen, motion sensor, and a microphone. Its set of features are quite impressive, considering that it runs on a simple proprietary operating system.
- The child can enjoy several activities such as coloring, cursive writing, and creating music.
- The tablet can be a good tool to engage a restless child with the various educational activities it has.
- The pre-loaded content is limited. Additional content needs to be bought at an extra price, which can take the overall cost of the tablet above the budget.
3. LeapFrog LeapPad Ultimate
It has a large touchscreen and manual control too, making it an ideal first tablet for young kids.
- The tablet comes with a directional pad, also called D-pad, which has arrow-buttons on four sides. It lets the child select different highlighted icons and applications on the screen.
- Children can also use the stylus or a finger to operate the touchscreen. The multiple control options make using the tablet easy.
- The tablet comes pre-loaded with several child-friendly games, eBooks, and videos. All content can be updated, and additional content can be added using Wi-Fi.
- There is a web browser in the tablet that provides access to pre-selected websites designated safe for children. A basic camera allows picture and video-taking.
- LeapFrog wraps the main tablet body in a frame that absorbs bumps, thus minimizing the risk of damage due to falls.
- A few parents noticed the battery failing in three to four months.
- Problems such as buttons failing and screen cracking were reported, making the tablet less durable than claimed by the manufacturer.
4. LeapFrog Epic Academy Edition
If learning activities are your focus, then you must consider this LeapFrog tablet with a strong emphasis on educational content.
- The home screen can be customized so that your child can set their own look for the tablet.
- You get three months of LeapFrog Academy subscription for free. It provides access to several activities in science, math, and reading skills.
- Parents can set a usage time limit for the child. You can limit the app usage to up to 45 minutes in general and 30 minutes for videos.
- The tablet comes with a sturdy bumper for protection. The screen is resistant to shattering too.
- The limited amount of educational content can cause the child to outgrow the tablet quickly.
- Several parents were disappointed by the tablet’s user interface.
Tablets for children older than nine years
The list we have next include slightly sophisticated tablets that the children can use beyond their teenage years.
Consider Apple’s iPad when you are looking for the best of tablet experience for your teenage child.
- The child has access to thousands of high-quality educational apps through the App Store. Several of these apps grow with the child by expanding their content.
- iOS offers extensive parental control, which ranges from blocking app downloads to restricting inappropriate content.
- You will have to spend on a screen protector and a bumper case since iPads can be prone to damage due to rough handling by a child.
6. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
If you are looking for a standard Android tablet for your teenager, consider the Galaxy Tab S4.
- It contains the latest and best of hardware, which includes a high resolution LED screen and an octa-core processor. The hardware is best suited for teens who use tablets extensively for education purposes.
- Android OS offers several parental control features such as locking the app store and also setting user profiles that restrict access to certain features.
- Since it runs Android, you can also download third-party parental control apps that can transmit real-time usage details to the parent’s phone.
- Older teens who are good with technology may find ways to circumvent parental control, especially since a lot of information about breaking parental locks is available online.
- Third-party apps can provide a lot of data to parents about the child’s device usage, but they can cost money.
7. Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet
This is the kid’s edition of the Amazon Fire 7 tablet. It has several pre-loaded features and default services that make it one of the best tablets for children.
- The tablet comes bundled with a one-year subscription of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited. It gives you access to 20,000 child-friendly apps, games, videos, ebooks, audiobooks, and other educational content.
- You get an unmatched 2-year replacement warranty. If the child breaks the tablet, Amazon will replace it for free with no questions asked.
- Each Fire 7 Kids Edition ships with a durable bumper case with reinforced edges to protect the tablet. Bumper contains cut-outs to facilitate the use of headphones and charger without the need to remove the case.
- All content on the tablet is kid-friendly. But there is still substantial parental control provided on the tablet.
- It runs on a proprietary operating system from Amazon. It means there is no Android and no access to Google’s services, including the Google Play app store.
8. Amazon Fire 10 Kids Edition Tablet
The Fire 10 works great for adolescents and teenagers. If you are looking for an upgrade from Fire 7 or want your child to have a large-screen tablet experience, then this should be your choice.
- The Fire 10 has a 10.1 inches, full HD display that provides crisp and clear images; ideal when your child is mostly an ebook reader.
- The battery life gets an upgrade from the seven inches model. The Fire 10 has 10-hour battery life and 32 GB storage.
- The Kindle Fire 10 comes with all the benefits that the Fire 7 offers, including Amazon’s 2-year replacement warranty.
- There is no Android version of the tablet. You only can choose from Amazon services and the apps Amazon designs for the tablet.
- According to some parents, a recent update in the OS has rendered the interface a bit confusing for children.
9. Samsung Galaxy Kids Tab E Lite
Let your child enjoy the vast library of Android games and applications within the safe limits of this kids tablet by Samsung.
- The tablet comes with the Samsung Kids service dashboard, where you can set the time limit for tablet usage. The service automatically shuts down apps once the limit is attained.
- You can deactivate in-app purchases so that the child cannot purchase anything within the app, a useful feature to prevent any surprises for the parents.
- Samsung has tied up with Dreamworks Animation, Sesame Street, and National Geographic to provide subscription-based, high-quality kids entertainment and infotainment content via the tablet.
- The manufacturer ships the tablet encased within a soft and durable bumper cover.
- Since the tablet comes loaded with Android, it has long-term usability. It can be used as a secondary media device by your child once they step into their teenage and young adult years.
- The screen resolution stands at 1024 x 600, which is not even HD resolution (1280 x 720) – the basic screen resolution one can expect from an Android tablet.
- The 40 GB storage may not be enough considering the huge library of Android apps and multimedia content the kids can download on the tablet.
10. Dragon Touch X10 Kids Tablet
Fans of Disney will love this tablet that comes pre-loaded with a lot of entertaining content from Disney.
- The tablet comes with 18 Disney storybooks and six audiobooks, including Disney favorites like Frozen, Finding Nemo, Zootopia, Toy Story, and many more.
- Tablet runs on a proprietary interface called Kidoz based on Android. It is safe and child-friendly.
- The tablet ships with a silicone case, which protects the device from drops and bumps.
- The hardware can come across as outdated, but it should not matter unless the child is a heavy user.
- Some parents were not impressed with the durability of the tablet.
11. Dragon Touch Y88X Tablet
If your child has butterfingers, which leaves you nervous about the longevity of the tablet, then Dragon Touch’s tablet with its robust case is made just for you.
- The tablet comes with a thick silicone case. The bumpers on the side protect the device from drops while a stand on the back makes it convenient to view videos.
- You get 20 Disney storybooks and four audio books right out of the box.
- The screen is seven inches across and has a resolution higher than other children’s tablets.
- The device’s interface seems to be slow despite the processor being a quad-core one.
- Some noticed glitches in the interface, which the users attributed to the device being defective.
Tablets can provide access to a treasure trove of information when used correctly. It is always a good idea to integrate tablet usage with academics. It makes the device more useful for a child. Encouraging proper use and periodic maintenance of the device will help you get the most out of the tablet.
Which tablet do you prefer for your little one? Do tell us more about it in the comment section below.
Disclaimer: MomJunction may earn a commission when products are purchased through affiliate links given in the article. However, this partnership does not influence the editorial content featuring in our list.
2. Where we stand: Screen time; American Academy of Pediatrics
3. Give your child’s eyes a screen-time break: Here’s why; American Academy of Pediatrics