Now, kids can work and play, the digital way

Digital devices increasingly  target  school-goers

Bangalore, June 9 2014: When Amazon launched the latest  avatar  of its e-book reader, the Kindle Paperwhite in India,  it  addressed   pretty much the same  section   of consumers that it targets world-wide -- upwardly aspiring young adults --  or mature buyers who wanted to read on-the-go and no longer  cared to lug   half a dozen doggy-eared paperbacks,  while on  working tours  or  on holiday.

Then a funny thing happened on the way to   gadget shop:  Parents found in the Kindle Paperwhite  just the sort of  tool that would be rated " cool" by their kids -- and  hopefully kindle ( can't avoid the pun!) in them a renewed interest in the lost ( and virtually extinct) art of reading.

Youngsters pathologically averse to doing anything except the bare minimum of  required reading, were happy to be seen doing it on an electronic screen. Quick to leverage this trend, Amazon  deftly responded this   vacation season by highlighting some   kid-friendly features that they had  built into the Kindle:

- A Vocabulary builder: words looked up  get automatically added to the child's personalized  dictionary

FreeTime lets parents created a reading list and award their children when they have done  the reading

- Panel view lets children read comics or graphic stories, panel by panel

- Perhaps most important of all, parents  to limit children's access to   recommended and safe resources in the Kindle Store or indeed on the Web. 

The Kindle e-book store offers  holds a collection of over 250,000 books priced Rs.99 or less and over 1 million priced Rs. 299 or less. Canny parents can also  help locate a lot of free books as well -- so much of classic children's literature is  now in the public domain.

The nice thing about e-books, that you will never run out of supply -- even if your child is a voracious reader!  Ability to seamlessly switch from  text to pictures to animation to video... to read a well loved children's classic, then see the movie version, is technology's gift to the young of today -- that  parents can only envy.  The WiFi version of the Kindle Paperwhite costs Rs 10,999, while the Wifi+3G version which provides free 3G connection to the Web in India,  for the life of the device costs an additional Rs 3000. -- Anand Parthasarathy                    More information here