Last updated: August 18, 2021
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It is hard to imagine a life free of technology today: On the way to work, we listen to our favourite podcast on our smartphone, we no longer only watch linear TV but also Netflix and YouTube videos on our smart TV and ask Siri or Alexa to renew our shopping list.

How do we ensure that technology is fun at the same time as learning to use it in a safe environment? We have compared tablets from different manufacturers: Here in our tablet for children test 2022 you will find everything you need to know about the topic in order to be able to make a reflective purchase decision.




Summary

  • Tablets for children are powerful technical devices whose size lies between a laptop and a smartphone. They are especially designed for use by children between the ages of about 3 and 14.
  • Children's tablets differ mainly in their technical features, such as their operating system, screen size and internal memory.
  • Many tablets have pre-installed apps and parental control settings. You can specify a maximum usage time for the device and ensure that only adult content is displayed to your child.

The Best Tablet For Kids: Our Picks

Tablets for children: buying and evaluation criteria

Not every children's tablet is the same. Here we explain some criteria that allow you to evaluate the different products, regardless of your child's age and gender, and should help you in your purchase decision.

It is worthwhile to adapt these purchase and evaluation criteria for the tablet to your requirements for the device and the needs of your child.

Your child loves to draw but is still very gross-motored at a young age? - Choose a bigger screen! All the devices you have at home so far run a specific operating system? - Choose a tablet with the same system so that the devices can communicate with each other. Before you decide, we would like to explain these criteria in more detail below.

Operating system

For interested computer fans they are like a religion, for casual technology users they are only of interest when they don't work as they should: Operating systems.

Operating systems are usually so user-friendly that anyone can learn them.

The question now is: Are you comfortable with your current operating system or do you want to learn another one with your child? You've been working with iOS for years and can't remember how Windows or Android works, or the other way around? Or you have many devices that work with a certain operating system?

You probably want your child's tablet to work with the same system. This not only ensures that you understand how to use the device after a short time.

You only need one account to log in to different services, to download apps or to connect the tablet to other devices in your household.

Features: Software availability & parental controls

What do you want your child's new tablet to be able to do? Depending on the model and sometimes even the operating system, the features of a tablet vary.

Most tablets even come with some pre-installed apps. But don't worry: if you don't like them, you can delete them and download any other programmes you want instead yourself from the Google Play Store, the App Store or from other shops run by the device manufacturers.

Most apps are made for Android or iOS operating systems. So if you buy a device that runs on one of these two systems, you will also have the widest choice of apps to download for your child's tablet.

Programmes for almost all functions are now produced in the stores of all brands. So if you can't find a particular app directly in your store, you're sure to find a similar app, but perhaps from a different company.

Many manufacturers of children's tablets also provide specially created libraries of media content and apps for children.

Parents want their children to be able to do everything they want, but they also want to ensure that the protection of minors is respected: Another important aspect in the functions of the children's tablet are therefore settings that allow parents to control its use.

Parental settings on a children's tablet include a restriction on the time of use and a parental lock for content that is not appropriate for the child's age. Some models of children's tablets even come with these pre-installed.

Screen size & battery life

Not only software, but also hardware are of interest for the device. A first factor in this area is the device dimensions and the screen size of the tablet. Depending on what the tablet will be used for, it is worth considering the desired screen size.

If the tablet is to be used primarily on the move, and mostly only for audio content such as audio books, it would be better if the device were rather small and handy.

If, on the other hand, you want to watch films and videos with your offspring, work on learning programmes and perhaps also draw something for relaxation, a larger screen would be an advantage.

Most tablets for children have a screen diagonal between 5 and 10 inches (12.7 to 25.4 cm). As the screen size increases, so does the size of the device: a tablet with a 5 inch screen will fit in your pocket, but for one with a 10 inch screen you will probably need a separate tablet bag.

A larger display needs more power. Many manufacturers try to counteract shorter battery life by installing stronger batteries. Most children's tablets now have a battery life of 6 to 12 hours.

Again, ask yourself what suits your needs. Do you often need the tablet on long trips where there is no power outlet in sight, or do you only use it at home?

Internal memory

For example, do you want to download lots of apps for school and home, or audiobooks, videos and movies on the go, without always getting notifications about full internal memory? Or do you want to use, for example, learning apps that require more memory?

When considering this, you should also take into account that the larger the internal and RAM memory, the higher the overall price of the children's tablet. Most children's tablets have an internal memory of 8 or 16 GB, which could usually be expanded with an SD card (which you would often have to buy separately).

Camera

This point may seem quite obvious to some, but is still worth considering: does the tablet I want to buy for my child need a camera? And if so, how good should this camera be?

Many children's tablets now have a built-in front and rear camera. The front camera is usually somewhat inferior to the rear camera: the latter usually takes pictures with about 2 megapixels on children's tablets, while front cameras usually only have about 0.3 megapixels.

However, many parents decide against a built-in camera for reasons of youth protection, as they fear that pictures or videos of their children could be uploaded to the internet unintentionally and / or unknowingly.

This could be prevented by appropriate parental control settings. However, the same applies to the camera: if it is not needed, it is often only an additional source of costs.

Connections & network

A final criterion when buying a tablet for children is its connections and options for connecting it to the Internet.

Should the tablet have an internet connection, or even get a SIM card to connect to the mobile network? And what other audio or video connections should the tablet have to connect it to other devices, such as the home TV or a stereo system?

A children's tablet usually has a USB port, but actually not always a headphone port - so pay attention to this if you don't always want to follow your child's every click acoustically. If you want to connect the tablet to your TV, an HDMI connection would usually be an advantage.

Most tablets for children can be connected to the internet via WLAN. To be able to access the World Wide Web on the go, you would need to be able to insert a SIM card into the device.

However, many parents decide against Internet access, which could be regulated by suitable parental control settings.

Tablets for children: frequently asked questions and answers

In this section we would like to answer some questions that are often asked when buying tablets for children.

What is a tablet for children and how is it different from an "adult" tablet?

A tablet is a technical device with a screen size between that of a laptop and a smartphone, with the difference from a laptop that it usually does not have a physical keyboard, but a digital one that can be operated via the tablet's touchscreen.

The main focus is on play, fun and learning. This can often be seen in the childlike design, with bright colours and various cartoon heroes.

Tablets für Kinder-1

A children's tablet for school is particularly helpful if it offers access to many learning apps, is robust and as light as possible. Multimedia tablets are particularly suitable as tablets for school because of their better quality.
(Image source: unsplash / Patricia Prudente)

The software of the mini-computer is also created for children: special apps ensure that the youngsters can draw, learn, listen to audio books, watch videos or films and do many other things.

Equally important for many parents is that they can use the tablet to introduce their children to technology, control their children's usage behaviour, protect them from dangers and teach them responsible use of media and the Internet.

What types of tablets for children are there?

The term "tablet for children" may sound very specific, but a children's tablet is not just a children's tablet. We distinguish here between toy tablets, which are intended to fulfil more of a playful purpose for the child, and multimedia tablets, which are powerful technical devices and the precursor to the adult tablet.

Both types of tablets that we want to list here have advantages and disadvantages. We have summarised them for you:

Tablet type Advantages Disadvantages
Toy tablet Very easy to use, very cheap Not particularly powerful, usually only designed for very young children, limited functions
Multimedia tablet often with connection to app stores, many suitable programmes, many functions, more powerful device usually more expensive than toy tablets

So the devices differ primarily in their technical functions. As with the majority of all technical devices, the same applies here: The more the tablet should be able to do, the more it will cost.

What alternatives are there to a tablet for children?

Children's tablets are usually limited to use by children, both visually and through their functions. Often, as children get older, they no longer find old toys appealing, usually because they look too childish.

To prevent the colourful children's tablet from eventually gathering dust in the corner, there is the option of buying an adult tablet for your child and child-proofing it with various programmes that, for example, control the time of use and block adult sites on the Internet.

These programmes could then be gradually removed or their settings relaxed as the child grows up, so that the tablet can eventually be used like a normal adult tablet.

This would prevent you from having to buy multiple devices for different stages of your child's development. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of using an adult tablet:

Advantages
  • Can be set up regardless of the child's developmental level
  • More features
  • Higher performance
  • Often more compatible with other tech devices in the home
Disadvantages
  • Often higher price
  • Must first be set up to meet children's needs

From what age will my child benefit from having his or her own tablet?

Many parents rightly ask themselves at what age a tablet is appropriate for their own child: Often people also compare their own upbringing with regard to media and the Internet with the approaches of other parents.

At the latest when their own offspring demands technical devices with the argument "But XY already has one!", many a mum or dad stumbles.

Tablets für Kinder-2

Tablet manufacturers design their devices for children from the age of about three. So even the youngest can learn by playing with a children's tablet.
(Image source: unsplash / Jelleke Vanooteghem)

Children's tablets are usually designed for specific age target groups: The recommended age for using the devices usually starts at around 3 years and extends to around 14 years. However, many devices are also recommended for smaller age target groups, for example from 6 to 12 years.

When buying a tablet, we therefore recommend that you pay close attention to the device description and the specified age target group: Of course, a tablet for a three-year-old child will have less sophisticated features than one designed for a 13-year-old.

If you are interested in more pedagogical background on this topic, you can read about it on the following pages:

Which is the right tablet for my child? What should the device be able to do and which functions should be locked?

Roughly speaking, you should pay attention to the following three points when choosing a tablet for your child:

  • Targeting the right age group for your child
  • Appearance of the device
  • Technical features that match your wishes and needs

As described in the previous paragraph, there are different age target groups that a tablet for children can be geared towards. This should be a fundamental factor in your decision, as a kindergarten child will have different needs when using the tablet than a child at a secondary school.

If the target group is not considered, the tablet may look nice and match the operating system of your other devices, but your child will not be able to use it. However, it is worth considering other factors when choosing a tablet:

The look is not that unimportant! Many manufacturers design their tablets to be very child-friendly. So try to choose a tablet that suits your child.

Your 10-year-old is just starting secondary school and wants to be seen as cool in front of his friends? Then he will probably be disappointed if you buy him a pink tablet with butterflies.

As mentioned above, the tablet should also be designed to meet the needs of you and your child. For example, many children need internet to do their homework, in which case a Wi-Fi function would be an advantage.

Most parents also consider a parental lock for media content and a time limit for using the tablet to be very important.

It is not possible to make a blanket statement about which functions should be available and which should be blocked. Potential problems can usually only be identified once your child has been using the tablet for a while.

How do I set up a tablet for children correctly?

Depending on how much the tablet is already set up for use by children, you may have to do different amounts of work when setting up the device.

Usually, a number of apps with some basic functions are already installed, some of which are games and learning apps. If you are missing certain programmes, you can usually download them from the manufacturer's store.

Tablets für Kinder-3

A tablet is not just about fun and learning for your little ones: As an adult, you should keep an eye on your children's tablet use - and ideally even use the tablet with your children from time to time and be a good role model.
(Image source: unsplash / Alexander Dummer)

Some companies, such as Amazon with Amazon Kids+, have created their own libraries of child-friendly apps and content and make them available to users of their devices. Depending on their needs, they can download apps for school and learning, for playing games, or even videos and audio books for long car journeys.

When setting up your child's tablet, however, you should not only download lots of apps, but also take some precautions to protect minors, depending on their age and previous experience with technology and the internet.

Most of the time, these are already included in the factory settings of the device, but you can adjust them even further. Among other things, you can block inappropriate content for children and set a maximum usage time for the tablet.

Conclusion

As has already been mentioned several times in this article: A tablet is a very powerful technical device that can be used for many different functions. It is important to use all these technical possibilities to adapt the tablet to one's own needs and the developmental stage of the child.

This is to ensure that your child enjoys learning how to use technology responsibly and is not overwhelmed by it. It is also worthwhile to talk openly with your child about how to use the tablet. Do not simply forbid certain uses, but explain to your child why the device should not be used in this way.

This ensures a more sustainable development of your child's media competence, from which he or she can also benefit later in life.

Photo source: Prokudina / 123rf

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