Forget the toys, kids want iPads, iPhones for Christmas

Santa needs to buy stock in Apple because the top three things kids ages 5 to 16 want for Christmas are the iPhone4, the iPod touch and the iPad, according to the Duracell Toy Report.

From The Telegraph UK:

“Approximately 39 per cent children quizzed desired Apple gadgets this year, with 17 per cent of five to eight- year-olds, 50 per cent of nine to 12-year-olds and 66 per cent of 13 to 16-year-olds all putting Apple items at the top of their lists.”

“The report, which quizzed a total of 2,138 children and parents in equal measure, also highlighted the growing similarities between boys’ and girls’ preferred Christmas presents, with both sexes increasingly opting for gender neutral gadgets. “

“It found more than three out of five parents admitted choosing Christmas presents that would keep their youngsters quiet throughout the holidays.”

“The top 10 toys for Christmas 2010, according to the report are:

1) iPhone 4 (14%)

2) iPod touch (13%)

3) iPad (12%)

4) Kinect for Xbox (6%)

5) Zhu Zhu Pet Hamsters / Kung Zhu Hamsters (5%)

6) Flip Video Camera (4%)

7) Toy Story 3 Jet Pack Buzz Lightyear (4%)

8) PlayStation Move (4%)

9) LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 Video Game (3%)

10) Barbie Video Girl (3%)”

My question is: Are parents really buying their little kids these things or just their teenagers? There is no way in heck I would purchase these expensive items for kids and probably not a teenager. Heck, I won’t even buy them for husband. Michael would love an iPad but it isn’t happening because of the monthly bill for wireless service to use the thing.

Are you surprised that kids want these technologies and rate them so highly on their lists? Are they on your kid’s list? Would you buy them for Christmas presents? For what ages? What do you make of parents saying they buy things to keep their kids quiet during the holidays? (That’s pretty disturbing!)

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Yeah, well..

October 26th, 2010
6:17 am

…good luck with that…

vhth

October 26th, 2010
6:55 am

FYI, tell your husband you can buy an Ipad that doesn’t use monthly wireless service. You just use Wifi to get internet access. It’s actually the cheapest model at $500. However I still think they’re overpriced for what they are.

catlady

October 26th, 2010
6:57 am

This is nuts!

Sk8ing Momma

October 26th, 2010
7:00 am

I wouldn’t buy these items for a child. We have a “family” iTouch that each person in the family is free to use. It works well for us. (Btw, my 11yo paid for half of her iPod when she was 8yo…She’s been very responsible with it. Her 8.5to little brother uses it from time to time, too. He wants his own; but, he’s not responsible enough to keep up with it, IMO.)

With regard to the iPad, I think it is appropriate for a teen; however, I wouldn’t buy it w/o the teen contributing. Our family can afford to buy one; however, I’d make a teen contribute at least half of the price. IMO, the teen would need to have a vested interest in such an expensive item. I’m old school…Just because one is able to afford things for her child does not mean that she should buy them. Children, including teens, need to appreciate the value of a dollar and demonstrate responsibility when it comes to expensive gadgets, particularly those of the non-essential variety.

madmommy

October 26th, 2010
7:19 am

I would never buy for my child what I can do without. With how the econ is in the hole and going no where fast, I don’t feel it is wise to purchase such items for children, esp. younger children. My little one is about to turn 4 and her father and I were talking about getting her a watch. She really wanted a watch and I felt that 4 was still to young for such and item.

I think this year more parents to focus on the “reason for the season” rather than “what am I going to get.” We are looking a more games and puzzles for christmas, rather than things that just gadgets. Maybe we could use this down turn to get kids back on track with age appropriate gifts and items.

BShepCarlin

October 26th, 2010
7:26 am

Keep dreaming kids…ain’t no how, NO WAY….My 6 yo asked me for a phone the other day!! He wasn’t too happy when all I did was laugh at him. Ridiculous. Kids need to be kids, not little adults parading around with obnoxious electronics.

motherjanegoose

October 26th, 2010
7:45 am

So sad that kids do not even want to play games anymore…there are so many social skills being lost because they do not.

Even worse, is the fact that many parents will buy into what the kids want, when they cannot even afford it.

dan

October 26th, 2010
7:53 am

Whatever happened to wanting a teddy bear? Who has that kind of money? Seriously, isn’t a home computer or laptop enough? Do kids even talk to each other anymore or just text??

JJ

October 26th, 2010
8:02 am

HELL NO!!!! This is what is wrong with America today. Send the kids outside for some fresh air, and make them use their imaginations. But unfortunately that’s old school now, and you don’t ever hear of a pick up game of kick ball in the street anymore. I’m glad I grew up when I did, and I’m glad my daughter doesn’t want all this hi tech crap either. We both have blackberries and that’s it as far as I’m concerned…..oh and she has a lap top her grandmother bought her for graduation.

I see no need whatsoever for a 5 year old to have an iPod…..they are not responsible. Much less and iPad for a 10 year old……

atlmom

October 26th, 2010
8:08 am

I don’t have that stuff, certainly not getting it for my kids.

Photius

October 26th, 2010
8:11 am

Give your children everything for what they need, and give them only some of what they want. No way on expensive gadgets – ever. Another great example of parents showing how much they love their little procreation by how much materialistic good they provide. Just another example of how sick this nation is at times. Let your child go without – it’s good for them – and you too Mom and Dad.

JJ

October 26th, 2010
8:19 am

Give them memories, not expensive gadgets….Guess what they will remember more as they get older?

Mom of 2 teen boys

October 26th, 2010
8:21 am

I agree with Sk8ing Momma, just because we CAN buy them things doesn’t mean we SHOULD. I’m also old school. My kids think we’re poor because we don’t buy them the latest and greatest gadgets, but I want them to learn to WORK for items they want.

I’m sure some of their friends will get an ipad for Christmas. Probably the same kids who drive new cars to school everyday.

motherjanegoose

October 26th, 2010
8:31 am

Mom of 2…if you ever go to the HS parking lot, you will see that many kids drive nicer cars than adults do. We COULD get snazzy cars but we do not….a waste of money, to me. I buy what I can afford, without a car payment. Not a dump but something practical.

When my kids whined about all the stuff their friends had, I shared that many things were not actually owned by people but in their possession as a liability and payment each month.

We have seen several of our friends, in their 50’s, who have been laid off and it is really sad. I do not want to take on anything we do not really need.

deidre_NC

October 26th, 2010
8:36 am

we have basic cell phones (which i would nott if i wasnt in a contract grr) and we both have laptops bought by family members since we are both in college. we have abasic tv (no flatscreen just normal big ones) and only 1 of those. why does anyone need a tv in every room? my daughter bought herself a mp3 player..a cheap one..and a thingy to make it play thru the radio in her car. no extra bells and whistles for anything here.

TechMom

October 26th, 2010
8:37 am

My son (15) has jokingly asked for an iPad – because he knows we won’t buy it for him. Then he asked if I could update one of our old laptops for his use because he knows I’m much more agreeable to that since that requires only my time. He does have an iPhone 3G. He wanted one for his birthday (the only thing on his list) and since we had an upgrade on our account available, my husband got a refurbed 3GS and we gave our son his iPhone (so the cost was $100 for my husband’s phone and $15 per month for the data plan- cheaper than most other items on a teenager’s list now days). As for the iPad, if you have an iPhone, there’s not much point in the iPad. I know there are Apple whores who will disagree with me but really, if you can’t fit it in your pocket, what’s the point? I have a laptop at home so something portable is all I want. That being said, I do LOVE my iPhone, but I think people are buying the iPad b/c they think it’s cool, not b/c it’s so much more functional than anything else in this world.

There is certainly no way young children need these expensive gadgets though. I have seen a few younger kids (10-12) with iTouches and even then wonder what their parents will do when they break them but they’re no more expensive than a PSP or a Nintendo DS really.

deidre_NC

October 26th, 2010
8:38 am

of course my granddaughter and most of my family memebers have every bell and whistle for anything you can think of. some of them can aford them and some cant.

TechMom

October 26th, 2010
8:40 am

Agh, I got caught by the filter!

Becky

October 26th, 2010
8:44 am

Won’t be buying any of these things for Christmas..My two haven’t asked for anyhing that is on this list..The girl had wanted all of the zhu Zhu pets at one time, but has now gone on to soemthing else..She already has about 9 of them that she has bought with her allowance money..

They both want a DSI XL..Not sure if they will get them though..They both have a DS now..The boys came from a yard sale for $30.00 with a game, that’s the only reason that he got it..Like JJ said, give them memories not gadgets..

Metro Coach

October 26th, 2010
8:44 am

Good grief, what a bunch of kill-joys you people are. Its Christmas, its not about what kids “need” or what they “should have”, its one time of the year for them to get what they want. I get the “reason for the season” and all that, but some of you are taking this “woe is me” economy too far. There are 1,000 ways to make a little extra money for Christmas gifts, and plenty of ways to buy things for much lower than full price. For you folks to sit here and bash parents because they buy their children what you deem “expensive” gifts is sad. Maybe those iPods and Pads aren’t new, maybe they were bought somewhere like a pawn shop, like my dad used to do. Jut because some of you choose to go beyond “frugal” and deep into “cheapskate” don’t rain on everyone else’s parade

JJ

October 26th, 2010
8:51 am

I buy expensive things I don’t need, with money I don’t have, to impress people I don’t know…..

MetroCoach – it’s not about the spirit of Christmas and we are NOT being kill-joys, we are realistic. It’s that today’s kids are spoiled rotten and DEMAND the high tech goodies. I refuse to give into any of that crap. If my daughter wants a fancy iPad, then she can get a job and buy it herself. My dad once told me “If you want something bad enough, then work for it and buy it yourself, and you will appreciate it that much more”.

Becky

October 26th, 2010
8:52 am

@deidre..I bought an MP4 player at a yard sale for $5.00 (she wouldn’t take less LOL) I had to get my nephew to program songs into it and still haven’t listened to any of the music..The boy uses it once in a while..

I understand what you mean about family having things that they can’t afford..Have a nephew that him and the wife are having baby # 5, yet they have a car that will only seat 2 adults and 2 small children..But he has a really nice IPOD, a $300.00 phone and 2 laptops..Yep, times they have changed since my parents were parents..

motherjanegoose

October 26th, 2010
9:02 am

Metro Coach, if there are a thousand ways to make a little extra money….pray tell. We have friends who are really worried, having lost jobs. Even some college kids are not able to get seasonal jobs, as they used to. Some sat home all summer with NOTHING.

JJ…my Dad told me that too and I tell it to my kids…LOL.

Seems to me, that some of the trouble we have with the economy is that too many folks mortgaged what they thought they needed and now cannot afford. Fiscal responsibility is not popular but sometimes necessary. Do we not hear all sorts of commercials to eliminate credit card debt? Anyone?

Does a 16 year old NEED a Lexus…not in my world. I do not NEED one either.

Photius

October 26th, 2010
9:03 am

My family is comfortable in our finances, however my child will never get everything he wants for Christmas – not even 50% of what he wants will be given to him on birthday’s or Christmas. The educational value instructed in our house is, it’s not how much you earn…. It’s how much do you spend and save. I firmly believe in having my son go without – on most things. My son has often not liked this parenting approach but then again, I am his father and not his pal and I did not bring a child into the world so I can feel all warm and fuzzy when I give him some materialistic object. Loving your child is teaching them the responsibility of saving, of going without because nobody ever has it all, and the lesson of work ethic. If he wants something bad enough let him earn it through work and saving. Americans are overly materialistic and predominantly raise their children to become one thing – consumers. Not in my house.

motherjanegoose

October 26th, 2010
9:06 am

OFF TOPIC…Shaggy….did you ever draw a conclusion about kids and research in phone books?

Mrs. G

October 26th, 2010
9:09 am

This is so true. My 10 (11 this week)-year-old brother has/wants things that I wouldn’t have even dreamed of when I was his age (and not just because they weren’t invented yet): an iPhone, an iPad, Xbox this and Xbox that… When I was his age, I think that I got an American Girl doll, some craft supplies, and a portable phone (landline, of course; I shared the family phone line, just had a phone in my room…and I was so cool because of it, hahaha!) for Christmas and I was overjoyed with those things.

My brother and I had a conversation when the iPhone 4 came out; he told me that he was getting one (I don’t think he has one yet; I think that it was wishful thinking) and he asked if I was getting one to replace my two-year-old iPhone 3G (which was a gift; I honestly had been perfectly happy with my regular Motorola cell phone that didn’t even have a keyboard for texting, LOL). I told him no, because my phone still works great. He was like, “Is it because you don’t have enough money?” and I could not seem get the point across that just because I may be able to afford something like that, I feel like my money is better spent elsewhere (I’m sure that I bored the heck out of him with my little lecture). I just don’t feel like I need to have the newest and greatest when it comes to gadgets, but kids these days seem to think that they do.

YUKI

October 26th, 2010
9:14 am

I agree somewhat with Metro Coach. My husband and I work hard, and if we want to buy our kid something nice for Christmas then why shouldn’t we? To say you don’t need “fancy gadgets” “to impress people you don’t know” is not really what we are talking about here. It’s 2010 and most people have these “gadgets”..it’s a way of life now, like it or not. My son is not old enough for any of this stuff now. If he was I wouldn’t just buy things for him for no reason but if it’s his birthday or Christmas and he understands that it’s special….then why shouldn’t I be able to get him something he wants? If it’s not a special occasion then I agree, if he wants it, he needs to figure out a way to earn the money to get it. You can buy your children nice things and still teach them the value of money.

motherjanegoose

October 26th, 2010
9:23 am

YUKI…if you can afford it, then that is your business.

Sometimes, children grow up having a substantial lifestyle and then when they have to pay their own way ( and can’t) …they are depressed or they live on their parent’s dime forever.

Girls who have Daddy taking care of their every whim ( yes they do exist) can be a burden on their newly degreed husband ( if they marry) as their expectations are not realistic. I do not want this for my son or daughter.

We too have friends who are able to comfortably provide most everything but sometimes it does not provide contentment:

Man’s happiness really lies in contentment.
Mohandas Gandhi

motherjanegoose

October 26th, 2010
9:24 am

My daughter knows a girl who has to have a new outfit every week….not too content, IMHO.

YUKI

October 26th, 2010
9:27 am

MJG- I agree with what you said. I did not grow up spoiled and I did appreciate everything my parents sacrificed for us…to send us to college, etc. I am pretty frugal for the most part and I’m going to teach my son to save and appreciate what he has as well. I’m just saying that if he was 10 years old and wanted an Ipod I would have no big issues getting one for him. As long as he realizes the value of what he has and that he has to take care of it. In no means am I all for giving them whatever they want, but I think as a Christmas present it’s a different story.

BlondeHoney

October 26th, 2010
9:39 am

I get what everyone’s saying but I am tending to side with MetroCoach and Yuki on this one…it seems like though everyone seems to be bashing technology itself by saying proudly how they don’t have a cell or it’s ancient only 1 TV not flatscreen, etc etc…and when some one does have an iPhone or something else, they are almost apologizing for having it (”I didn’t buy it, it was a gift, etc”) Come on in the 21st century folks it’s a lot of fun here too like it was in the good ‘ole days it’s just a different kind of fun

BlondeHoney

October 26th, 2010
9:42 am

oh & i LOVE LOVE LOVE my iPod Touch, my Blackberry Bold, my Wii AND my flat screen HDTV (plus my BluRay player that I stream NetFlix on) :)

Mrs. G

October 26th, 2010
9:44 am

MJG – I think that I’ve mentioned this before – I live in NY (upstate; I moved from GA two years ago) and my husband has lived in NY his entire life. He went to college with a lot of kids from Long Island and has mentioned “Long Island Girls” before. I asked what they are and he said girls whose daddies do EVERYTHING for them (even though, when he knew them, they were in college). Now, I know that not all girls from Long Island are like that (one of my best friends grew up there and is very responsible and self-sufficient), but it sounds like, for my husband to use that term, there are quite a few! Your post definitely made me think of that.

On a different note – this goes along with living on the parents’ dime forever – I have a friend (not from Long Island) whose parents were always very generous when it came to providing for her (a nice apartment in college, lots of new clothes, vacations, etc.). She is now married (and both she and her husband have jobs), but I strongly suspect that her parents still supplement their incomes. I just don’t know how they could live the lifestyle that they do without that happening. It’s really none of my business and I would never ask her if it’s the case, but, like I said, I suspect it.

RJ

October 26th, 2010
9:45 am

I refuse to buy my kids these things. My daughter begged for an ipod last year, she got a sony mp3 player which does just as much as the nano she wanted for substantially less. She’s asked for an ipad or at least a mac notebook. Not happening. When she goes to college I will invest in a laptop. Maybe it’ll be an Apple, maybe it won’t. Either way, I’m not buying into this whole “i” thing. She has friends that have it all. I won’t even get internet on her phone. It just costs too much. I always tell my kids that if you want the finer things in life, don’t be a teacher :)!

This goes way past tech stuff. My son now wants expensive jeans. He actually took his birthday money and bought True Religion jeans for $140! That’s insane. I told him that he makes the clothes, not the reverse. I do remember wanting the latest and greatest at their ages. I didn’t get it either!

Becky

October 26th, 2010
9:49 am

Metro Coach..I agree with you some and I agree with Photius some..It’s just that (I think) kids want (and get) sooooo much nowadays that they don’t learn to appreciate things.. We usualyy do go overboard for our two at Christmas and birthdays, but we also teach them to take care of their things and learn the value of things..

@Mrs.G..I had a coworker that had the same lack of understanding about buying something new, when what you already had still worked..I have a TV in the bedroom (about 25 yrs old), I bought a DVD player to hook up to it and it doesn’t have the right connections, so she kept telling me that I should go buy a new TV.. WHY, the one that I have still works..Of course this is a coworker that was caught stealing from the company, so guess that why she thought I should jsut go out and buy new..

FCM

October 26th, 2010
9:59 am

Just because the kids ask for them doesn’t mean Santa (or anyone else) puts it under the tree for them. My 2 have asked for iphones and ipods for the last several years and the older one just got her ipod (from Dad) last year when she turned 10.

I think Santa is bringing a BlueRay for the basement tv this year.

Mom wants a dog.

motherjanegoose

October 26th, 2010
9:59 am

BlondeHoney….LOL…do you not work for the TECH folks? It is your job to like the stuff, as much as I advocate education….too funny. You do need to protect your job! HUGS!

ATL06

October 26th, 2010
10:07 am

I agree completely with Blondehoney. Do children need to have everything that they want no but there is nothing wrong with having extras and if I can’t afford it I won’t get it but if I can I will. It’s up to parents to teach their children the value of a dollar and what’s important. My son is 10 and he saves his money to buy some of the things that he wants. We are all adults we do not have to justify to anyone why we do the things that we do for our children. When I was growing up my mother did not have a lot of money to spend on frivolous things all the time but Xmas and birthdays were always special. I am not explaining to anybody why I do the things that I do. I am an adult.

BlondeHoney

October 26th, 2010
10:14 am

LOL HUGS to you too MJG…you got me on that one

motherjanegoose

October 26th, 2010
10:20 am

ATL06…I think I am an adult too and I often explain the things I do: to potential clients, parents of children younger than mine, my parents, neighbors, friends at church and co workers. On this blog, I enjoy reading other posts and opinions, even if I do not agree with them…I do learn things when people explain their reasoning to me. Maybe I am the only one?

We may not necessarily need to justify but sometimes it can help to hear another person’s reasons.

Last week, we were talking about ethics and character. I did not mention that my daughter came home this past weekend, while I was gone and when I got home…she told me she had cleaned the house for me. I have tried to teach mine character and kindness and that DOING things for others often trumps BUYING things for others. Not trying to justify…just sharing.

I would rather meet some of the fellow posters I already know, on this blog, for lunch than have any of them send me a gift. I simply enjoy the doing things together.

JATL

October 26th, 2010
10:24 am

WOW -no, I’m not buying my small children gadgets like these. My oldest is 4.5 and doesn’t even know what they are. He sees our iPhones and my iPod and loves the computer, but he’s never asked for his own. The closest I would come is getting him a iPod with music I loaded on it. As far as an iPad -of course my husband and I would both love one, but it’s not in the budget currently. The oldest already has the Toy Story 3 Buzz Jet Pack, but they’ll be getting toys, games and puzzles this year. The most high tech stuff they get are a few learning games for Wii and discs for Computer Cool School, Leapster cartridges and TAG books. I believe until they’re pretty far along in elementary, their brains need the development that comes from playing with regular toys and using their imaginations more. If I had an 8-10 year old who REALLY wanted an iPod touch or Flip, I would probably get that, but not the other non-toy electronics listed above.

@MJG -actually all of the kids I know LOVE to play games and do puzzles! True, I’m still running in the preK set, and they do love to use computers and sites like PBS Kids, but my son and all of his local peers are really into good ol’ board games like Cootie, Don’t Spill the Beans, memory card games, Go Fish,Chutes and Ladders, Candyland, etc. I think, as always, it just goes back to the home. If parents take the time to sit down with their kids and play games and/or do puzzles -then the kids likes them. If the parents (and so many unfortunately fit this bill today) just can’t be bothered for 30 min to an hour, then the kid never really gets much exposure. From what I read and see here, I think we definitely made the right choice staying in the intown neighborhood where we are. The parents around here and the peers of my kids are keen to focus on toys that foster imagination and creative play and games and puzzles. Electronics are viewed as something for MUCH older kids -like teens -and then not too many or too expensive. Most of us are quite comfortable, but I agree with Mom to 2 boys and Photius -just because you can afford it, doesn’t mean you have to get it, AND Santa or mom and dad DO NOT need to bring every single thing on the wish list every year! Not even close! If things continue as they are (and who knows if they will or not), then we’ll be able to afford cars for our boys when they’re 16, but they won’t be getting them. Depending on which high school they attend, they can either take the bus, walk, ride their bikes or take MARTA like many teens in our neighborhood do. I don’t mind dropping off or picking up sometime either! This whole idea of giving kids EVERYTHING they want -including non-material things like letting them stay up and out way too late at far too young of an age, being unsupervised, etc. has had a horribly detrimental effect on society. Children as accessories -not a good experiment.

RJ

October 26th, 2010
10:35 am

I remember when everyone wanted their own phone line! That was so cool….but I never got one! My mother would take my phone from my room at 10pm, even in highschool. I also remember wanting Guess jeans and Gucci purses.

Cammi317

October 26th, 2010
10:40 am

My soon to be 13 y/o (the day after Christmas), most definitely asked for an Iphone and an Ipad. I told her to keep dreaming…

JATL

October 26th, 2010
10:42 am

@RJ -hee hee, me too! I wanted my own phone line, Gloria Vanderbilts and Calvin Kleins ,and a tv in my room. I got the jeans eventually, but never the phone line or tv! I had to either go back in my parent’s bedroom when they were in the living room or pull the phone cord into the pantry for privacy as a teenager. Guess what? I lived through it!

JJ

October 26th, 2010
10:54 am

Don’t forget Jordache Jeans….my favs….I think I might still have a pair in a box somewhere…LOL..

motherjanegoose

October 26th, 2010
10:56 am

JATL….we had a party line when I was in HS…it did not matter if you were trying to get some privacy in your own house…the neighbors knew what was going on…LOL.

I honestly do not even remember talking on the phone much in HS and we did not have computers back then either…wonder how we made it?

We had ONE 13 inch TV, with rabbit ears and NO remote.

Lori

October 26th, 2010
10:57 am

It doesn’t surprise me that kids ask for this stuff. My son is 7 and he thinks he wants all this stuff. He of course has no idea what any of it does. He just sees mommy and daddy use our cell phones and assumes he needs one too (but who would he call?? LOL). I would never buy him an iPad or anything like that because he has no logical need for it. We aren’t exactly a techno-free family, though. We’ve got a Wii for all of us to use, and my son “has” a laptop computer, but it’s actually mine, but we let him use it just to familiarize him with computers for school. He doesn’t have an iPod, and I don’t want him to have one. I prefer not to have my child plugging in to technology and unplugged from his family. When we go for walks, I’d rather talk with him, than have him walk with earphones in!

motherjanegoose

October 26th, 2010
10:58 am

Ha Ha JJ…since I lived on the farm…we girls wore overalls…amazing but true. I never owned designer jeans in HS. I do have Gloria Vanderbilts ( sp?) now…does that count?

HB

October 26th, 2010
11:08 am

I’m not surprised that younger kids are wanting ipods, and I don’t think it’s about them being overly spoiled — it’s about tech standards shifting. When I was 6 or 7 back in the mid-80s and didn’t have anything in particular I was longing for for Christmas, my mom surprised me with a boom box. It was awesome! I could listen to the radio (something I was just starting to get into at that age), make cassette recordings, play music and story tapes, move it from room to room — all the things that ipods do now. While I don’t think it’s great for 6-year-olds to be walking around with headphones on (and parents should set rules limiting that), increasingly, digital files are becoming how we listen to music, so an ipod with a pair of little speakers to plug into it, is really not all that different from a little record/cassette/CD player and collection of albums/tapes/discs in a child’s room. And the least expensive models (shuffles are $49) are probably about the same price or even less than those items were 20-25 years ago (I’m pretty sure that would be less than a Cabbage Patch Kid was back then when adjusted for inflation).

As for the higher ticket items for teenagers, I think depends on how they would use them. An iPad or laptop seems extravagant, but if the child will be able to do a lot of schoolwork on it and happens to be in a school that maximizes use of technology (e-textbooks, homework submitted online, etc), I think it could be a good gift that’s both useful and fun. If their school isn’t doing those sorts of things and they would simply be gadgets/toys, it’s probably better to wait until college or let them save up to buy them themselves.