The presence of technology in our everyday lives is more prominent than ever before. The sale of newspapers are declining rapidly due to the rise of tablets and smartphones, and face-to-face conversation has been replaced with online interaction; this week it has been reported that 53% of Britons will connect with up to 10 people whilst dining with a loved one.
Inevitably this trend has begun to effect the younger generation, and topping the Christmas list of many children this year will be the new and improved Furby. In 1998, when Furbys were first released, they were revolutionary. Their infrared eyes meant they could communicate with their owner, one of the first really interactive toys of the generation which would spark a trend.
This year the Furby is back, with more motors and sensors than before, making the Furby more interactive than ever. Using research that shows a quarter of nine and 10 year olds use social networks, the new Furby will also include a smart phone and tablet app, with the toy evolving its personality based on how each child plays with it.
However, the Furby is not the first toy to come with app based components, with children become more technologically savvy, apps are possibly one of the most popular form of toy, you only have to look at the most popular downloads on iTunes to verify this. Although you might think that these apps will make the more traditional toys obsolete, in fact it presents an exciting opportunity to reinvent a classic and make it relevant to the modern world. For example, companies that make puzzles are creating 3D toys meaning that when the last piece is in place, the picture comes to life.
Of course the rise of app based toys means the demand for children to own their own tablets or smartphone, which of course no doubly will be joined with choirs of web safety for its users. But instead of trying to prevent children from developing their technology skills, which let’s face will be a constant uphill struggle, companies are starting to develop tablets specifically for children, and they have been hugely successful.
With technology becoming more integral to all components of our lives, of course this effect will impact on children. Instead of mourning the loss of the ball and string, we should embrace the change, I for one am looking forward to how toy companies will develop their more traditional products into something that is relevant to today.
How will toy companies develop their more traditional products to meet the growing technological demand?