The simple toy cars and dolls that all children once wanted are now out of style. In a constant cycle of out with the old and in with the new, tech toys and gadgets have taken over.
Most toys in the current generation have been equipped with some sort of technology.
Take toys such as the high-tech Barbie Dreamhouse smart house. Rather than just being a plain dollhouse, the Dreamhouse has floor sensors to detect where Barbie is, speech recognition, and stairs that can switch into a slide.
Second-year Humber College computer engineering technology student Bojan Lazic, 19, admits to a sense of surprise.
“I don’t know much about toys these days but I am amazed that the Barbie Dreamhouse has so many functions,” Lazic said. “You don’t expect kids to grow up with toys with this much technology in them.”
Gadgets such as phones and tablets are being put into the hands of kids at an early age. Lazic said he is surprised kids have these devices, but he isn’t against kids playing with them.
“I think it’s the new generation of entertaining kids,” he said. “It’s better for kids to play with these gadgets because it helps kids develop technology skills.”
Getting kids acquainted with technology at an early age, in such views, could just be preparing them for a world where digital literacy is becoming as important as reading and writing.
But second-year Humber College civil engineering technology student Shaquille Dennie, 21, feels kids should play with simpler toys.
“I feel like it’s overwhelming for the kids,” Dennie said. “We don’t know what kind of effects it has on them at eight or nine years old.”
A 2014 report done by MediaSmarts showed more than one quarter of Canadian students in Grade 4 own a cell phone.
This number surprised Dennie.
“I don’t know how kids are given phones at such an early age and how toys already have smart-tech implemented in them,” he said. “I didn’t get my first phone until I was 17-years-old, nor did smart-tech toys exist when I was young.”