Quick review: Birde media player for kids
Feeling guilty about your child's relationship with technology? This clever device just might be the solution.
If you are a parent or carer of young kids there's no doubt you've had the dreaded device debate. Should you let your kids use devices? Not at all? Or a little bit? And if so which one? And how long for?
For an exhausted parent half an hour's respite from a demanding little person so you can cook dinner, do some life admin or even (just even) have some time out for yourself, can often mean handing over your phone or tablet or plonking your child in front of the television. It can make you feel a bit guilty sometimes, I get it. I remember my 2 year old shrieking for what she used to call the "mypad" plenty of times.
Other (stronger) parents than me have strict no device and no TV rules – and good on them. But the counter-argument can be while we live in a connected world, how can we deny our kids the chance to interact with technology? Especially when they see all of us, including their parents doing it all the time.
Now iPads, tablets, phones and just good old TVs come with a lot of cons to their pros (and that's not even counting the pre-installed parental guilt) including being able to control what content your kids are consuming to the lack of robust hardware suited to young and sometimes clumsy little hands.
So what if there was a piece of tech designed for little people that met parents and kids in the middle of the digital divide?
Meet Birde (pronounced Birdy), designed by two Australian parents who understand the parenting digital dilemma.
What is Birde?
Birde is an interactive media player and speaker designed specifically for children under the age of 5. Designed by parents for parents and young children the Birde allows young kids to choose their own music or audiobook content and play it themselves. Kids simply tap the content (which is on a token called a Birde Seed) on the face of the Birde player and music, audio automatically plays.
When it's paired with a compatible Smart TV, audio and video will play through your TV device so again the child can independently access quality content that has been pre-approved through the Birde content stream.
- It allows little people to independently use the device easily and safely to listen to music, audiobooks or watch TV shows.
- It's easy to use. Toddlers and little kids can easily use the Birde Seeds to activate the player to choose what they want to listen to or watch.
- The system keeps the kids using it within a "walled garden" of quality and age-appropriate content.
- Parents and carers of messy small children rejoice! The speaker and the Birde Seeds are waterproof and can even be fully submersed for a quick wash.
- The battery has a life of up to 8 hours of continuous playback.
- The design is colourful and easy for chubby little hands to handle with ease but robust enough to deal with the rough and tumble of toddler play.
- A growing library of content. Currently, there are 600 episodes including video from Storybots and Play School, music from The Wiggles and audiobooks such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Muddle Headed Wombat.
- Tap and play audiobooks where children can follow along with a real book.
- The content is limited by what is available via Birde (however this is growing constantly).
- Owners will have to pay to access new content by buying "seeds" which retail from $11.95 a pack.
Birde retails for $299. A "starter pack" of Birde Seeds comes with the console. However, to buy more content, Birde Seeds retail from $11.95 a pack.
Where can you buy it?
If you are a parent or carer conflicted about the levels of "tech" in your toddler or young child's world, the Birde is a good option. Children can safely and independently access quality and age-appropriate content and you won't have to worry if the device is dropped in the bath. While it's not cheap, it's good quality and certainly cheaper than a smashed or "drowned" iPad/tablet or phone.