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Holiday Tech Gadget Shopping for Kids: A Good Investment? Or Waste of Dollars?

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Yesterday a message came across my mother’s group email listserve:

Anyone have any experience with DS handheld game systems?  We’re thinking of getting them for our daughters (first grade; soon to be seven).  Are they a big hit or a one and done (ie, play with them for one minute then they’re done)?

I immediately replied with my oldest daughter’s experience — it was definitely a “one and done” situation.  She had begged us for a Nintendo DS for months and months and we bit the bullet and gave her one for Christmas when she was 5 1/2; I did think she was a bit young, but she was so deadset on wanting one that we decided to give it a try.  Fast forward 2 years and I can honestly say that she was more in love with idea of owning a DS than actually playing with the gaming system. So when gifting your kids with a tech gadget, how do you know it won’t be another expensive addition to the toy landfill in their playrooms?

Last year that same daughter of mine desperately wanted a laptop. Santa Claus granted her wish (of course), and she (and her siblings) have used it almost daily since — for homework, games, music, Skype-ing with Grandma, you name it.  We consider that a great investment.  Now, with Christmas 2011 around the corner and the Xbox360 at the top of the wishlist, I am not persuaded that Santa should deliver another pricey gaming system for fear that it will end up collecting dust.  The question that I need to get to the bottom of is: Does she want an Xbox simply because that’s what the kids at school are talking about? In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her even play on one.

Yes, it appears that even Santa Claus has moral dilemmas.

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