“Dear Santa, this year I would like a new smartphone. But one with a good camera, please!”
Media devices are at the top of many wish lists. For parents, however, they often trigger questions above all. Are media good gifts? Which media are suitable for which age? And what should be considered when buying?
From books or radio plays to game consoles, many things fall under the term media. And almost all of them show up as gift requests at some point. For younger children, picture books, audio games or music boxes are often found in the gifts. Later, the wishes tend to go in the direction of smartwatches or children’s tablets. And when the children get older, laptops and tablets, game consoles and, above all, smartphones increasingly end up on the wish lists.
In most cases, parents still feel relatively secure in their choices in the early years and become increasingly insecure later on. However, some things that make gift giving easier can always be kept in mind!
The question is whether media are given at all and which are the right ones? Then there are several ways to make a decision. The following questions can help:
Children often take their cue from older friends or siblings. Therefore, they are interested in offers that are not appropriate for their age. As a parent, however, you should pay attention to the age for which an offer is intended. You can read everything important about this in our article “Age-appropriate media for my child“.
Before media is purchased, you should also consider whether your child is already able to handle it. For one thing, it’s about the use itself. It can be helpful to answer for yourself whether your child is already motor and cognitively capable of using the desired device. It is also a question of whether your child, already reasoned content select alone, whether it can correctly assess the financial value of a device and handle it with appropriate care and much more.
Media gifts can quickly become quite expensive. Then you as parents are faced with the dilemma: Do we fulfill the wish at a high price – or do we disappoint the child? But often there are other solutions. For expensive devices, it is a good idea to start with older, used models. This saves money and gives you the opportunity to first try out how well your child can handle it. If your child already receives pocket money, he or she can also contribute to the costs. In this way, they also learn to better assess the value of the device and handle it more carefully.
Before buying media, it is also important to think and talk about how the media will be used later. For younger children, it is a good idea to negotiate media rules together and record them in a media use contract. In addition, you can resort to technical protection measures and set them up together with your child. Many devices have their own parental control settings. We also need to talk to older children and young people about usage times, costs and responsible use of content.
All in all, the following applies to media gifts: The purchase alone is only the first step. It is important to stay in conversation with your child about both the desire and the use. This way you can accompany your child well in their media use, discover difficulties early on and find solutions together.
Also consult with other parents beforehand if the equipment has already been purchased there. What experiences have they had?
Trying out the media together under the Christmas tree is much more fun! This way you will also get to know your child’s new device right away.