Apple's iPad found to be most sought-after holiday gift among kids 6-12 years old, helps boost sales of lower-cost tablets, kid-oriented content; but child advocates wary about effect of technology on young children

LOS ANGELES , December 1, 2011 () – The iPad’s popularity among young children is also helping to drive increased sales of competing tablets, as well as for kid-oriented content, say experts, reported Bloomberg News on Nov. 28.

For the second Christmas in a row, the iPad is the gift children ages 6 to 12 ask for most, according to The Nielsen Co. Although the iPad remains the top-selling tablet, lower-cost alternatives on the market are often bought by parents for their children.

Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle Fire tablet, which sells for US$199 while the iPad starts at $499, was chosen by 51% of consumers asked to choose between the two, based on a survey by Parks Associates.

On Nov. 28, Amazon indicated that four times as many Kindles were sold on Black Friday than a year earlier, Bloomberg reported.

Since the iPad was introduced by Apple Inc. last year, about 40 million of the devices have been sold and a record 20 million iPads might be sold globally during the fourth quarter this year, according to Forrester Research Inc.

On Black Friday, Apple’s stores sold 14.8 iPads per hour compared with 8.8/hour a year ago, and this growth was higher than overall Black Friday sales growth, Piper Jaffray & Co. analysts indicated, reported Bloomberg.

Apps for the iPad are a growing market, which is valued at more than $500 million in the U.S., according to Rex Ishibashi, CEO of Callaway Digital Arts, a producer of titles based on Sesame Street and Thomas & Friends.

Other companies are cashing in on the trend with games and books aimed at kids, including Walt Disney Co., Bertelsmann AG’s Random House, TouchyBooks and Oceanhouse Media Inc., Bloomberg reported

For kids, the tablets “make sense,” said Ishibashi. Going forward, the generation growing up with the technology is going to demand touch on all their devices, said Tom Mainelli, an analyst with researcher IDC.

Still, the trend is not seen as positive by everyone. Some child advocates worry about possible long-term effects from introducing the technology to younger kids.

Victoria Nash, a researcher at Oxford Internet Institute that has studied the topic, likened the potential dangers to those from too much TV or online gaming, reported Bloomberg.

The primary source of this article is Bloomberg News, New York, New York, on Nov. 28, 2011.

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