The Gadget Girl: Gear for Kids
Kids will be kids - except when it comes to technology. Just like their moms and dads, who traded big boxy TVs for flat panels, children can free up some space in their bedrooms with an LCD TV from Disney ($300, disneyelectronics.com) - such as the Pirates of the Caribbean version shown at right. Available this fall, the TV has a 15-inch screen made by Sharp, with 1,024 x 768 resolution and a 4:3 aspect ratio. There's a VGA input so the TV can be used as a computer monitor, too. Other models include a bright-red school locker for High School Musical, a silver/purple theme for Hannah Montana, and a royal-carriage-inspired Disney Princess TV in pink and fuchsia.
Tweens looking for a sophisticated cellphone can get the flyPhone from Firefly Mobile ($125, fireflymobile.com). The fully loaded phone comes with flyKicks software, which means it offers only age-appropriate videos, songs, and wallpaper for download. To personalize on the fly, kids can choose their own ringtones, create slideshows, and take photos to share with friends. Parents assume no financial risk (such as contracts to sign or astronomical phone bills to pay) because Firefly Mobile is a pay-as-you-go service, with no fees for uploading/downloading videos, photos, games, or music.
You're never too old to feed your child's dream of being a rock star. tiger Electronics has teamed with Gibson for the Power Tour Electric Guitar ($70, hasbro.com/tiger). It has no strings - just light patterns - so it's an easy ax to master. There are six built-in songs ("Wild Thing" or "Smoke on the Water," anyone?), and if you want more, the guitar can plug into an MP3 player.