Come join us at iKids! On February 4, Linnette Attai will speak on the panel, “To Freemium or Not to Freemium.” The panel will discuss the pros and cons of popular app business models in light of parental concerns and regulatory scrutiny. Hope to see you there!
A young girl recently asked Hasbro to market their Easy Bake Oven to boys as well as girls. Lego was criticized for a line of products aimed at girls. Is the toy aisle the new frontier in the gender wars? Not quite, but for toy manufacturers and retailers, it’s worth taking notice.
There are, have been, and likely always will be toys that are developed and marketed along gender lines. Segmentation is part of any good marketing strategy, and that’s no different when it comes to children. Many toy companies are structured – for a variety of reasons – to develop product lines that fall neatly along gender lines, and then fit just as neatly into the boy and girl aisles at the toy stores.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that many toys don’t have universal appeal, play value and the like, just as it doesn’t mean that all gender-targeted marketing hits the right tone.
So what’s the lesson for the industry here? Marketing toys to a particular gender continues to be a very useful and successful strategy. But it’s worth taking a look at legacy products, gender-targeted items and tried-and-true marketing tactics to see if they are consistent with general societal norms surrounding gender roles. Examine your marketing campaign for overtones that may play into gender stereotypes. Assess your product and plans with an understanding of the existing climate around these questions.
When you’re comfortable that you’re doing right by children and for your business, you’re on the right track.
These days, it’s critical that parents teach their children about digital and mobile privacy and safety. While most children and teens have heard these words, it’s not easy for them to understand what they REALLY mean without some guidance.
Give them age-appropriate information about keeping personal information private, not sharing passwords with anyone (even friends), being careful not to post pictures that aren’t meant for the world to see, and the implications of having information out in cyberspace forever. Explain your rules about who they can and can’t be friends with online – just as you do in the real world – and show them what to do if they see something online that makes them uncomfortable. Teach these lessons as early and as often as you teach them lessons about navigating safely in the real world. And then teach them again as they grow.
And parents, if you’re not sure what your children need to know, or how to navigate the digital world they inhabit, just ask. There are a number of educators, industry representatives and your friend here at PlayWell who are more than happy to help you get started.