At the first ever Sandbox Summit, digital products for kids got mixed reviews.
The summit, held in conjunction with the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, featured the release of a study from the new digital-research institute, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, that concluded there was cause for both concern and hope in the billion-dollar market for digital products aimed at kids.
The report argued for better research and an emphasis on interactivity and shared play.
One key recommendation from the study was protecting kids from overcommercialization and undocumented claims of a product's educational value. "Changes in the advertising landscape support action to ensure that marketing claims about the educational value of digital products are validated by independent research evidence," the study concluded, adding, "industry and regulatory standards should be devised to monitor the media in an effort to protect children from improper commercialism in digital products."
The report said parents needed to be encouraged to get into the digital sandbox with their kids, adding that digital media are currently too focused on one child in front of one screen.
The study also suggested that government research money was not being well spent. "Tens of millions of dollars of public expenditure on digital-media research are not benefiting industry practices and product design," the report concluded.