19.06.2019 change 19.06.2019

Teddy bear or smart toys: what will dominate the world of children`s play?

Photo: Fotolia Photo: Fotolia

Are teddy bears and remotely controlled cars still attractive for children? Have the latest technologies entered the world of children`s play? Analyses show that smart toys that interact with the child in real time begin to play an increasingly important role.

According to Dr. Dominika Kaczorowska-Spychalska from the Marketing Department of the Faculty of Management, University of Lodz, it is estimated that the Polish toy market is worth about PLN 3 billion, which puts us in the forefront of European countries. We buy more and more toys, and brands record the largest sales in December, February and June.

The expert emphasizes that a good toy should fit into the world of children`s fascinations, educate and allow to develop imagination. It should give the child a sense of uniqueness, stimulate creativity and curiosity. It should build new experiences, develop and grow together with the child, helping to discover new passions.

Will the answer to this in the coming years be the growing segment of smart toys? Such toys use new technologies, namely the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and augmented reality, and are part of the so-called Internet of Toys.

Dr. Kaczorowska-Spychalska emphasizes that smart toys combine the features of analogue toys with the benefits of digital technologies.

"The use of sensors, microphones and cameras connected to the network as well as a number of related applications in toys allows to offer new functionalities that, if used properly, can support cognitive and learning processes. Interactive, expressive toys, responsive to the child`s emotions, knowing the answer to many difficult questions, inspire confidence and sympathy, building a strong emotional tether" - the expert from the University of Lodz notes in her analysis.

World experts are convinced that the smart toys market is one of the most dynamically developing sectors of the economy. According to Hexa Research estimates, in 2025 its value will exceed USD 24.6 billion.

It is anticipated that toys of this type will enjoy the highest popularity in the countries of North America and Europe, which results from the high level of awareness and social acceptance of digital technologies among the inhabitants of these regions.

"It is also important that many experts are convinced that such toys will enable children to increase their intellectual capabilities, allowing them to achieve things that today, perhaps, are still unachievable" - adds Dr. Kaczorowska-Spychalska.

Unfortunately, smart toys also have their dark side. Entering into numerous interactions, they register and record what children say and do, remember what the children like and what they perceive as boring and onerous.

"This may lead to fragmentation of knowledge the children acquire, and due to insufficiently restrictive and advanced legislative and technological solutions, such toys may also threaten children`s privacy" - comments Dr. Dominika Kaczorowska-Spychalska.

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