Tech gizmos increasingly target toddlers

Toy marketing giants from Disney to Fisher-Price are nudging preschoolers as young as three years old to put down their sippy cups and pick up digital cameras that can cost as much as $60, USA Today reports. Disney is newest to the fray, set for a fall rollout of its $59.99 Disney Pix Jr. digital camera that was tested for durability by–among other things–tossing the rubberized camera down concrete staircases. There’s a burgeoning market for technology devices for preschoolers. Even as the $22 billion toy industry saw its sales fall 2 percent last year, sales of electronics targeting kids grew 2 percent and topped $647 million at retail for the 12 months that ended in February, reports NPD Group. "Toy manufacturers are very smart and very aware of what kids are doing," says Anita Frazier, industry analyst at NPD. "They’ve asked themselves: How can we capitalize on this trend?" But some child advocates are questioning whether digital cameras are appropriate for preschool play. To make a buck in a tough economy, they say, toy marketers are simply lowering age targets for adult-oriented electronic gadgets such as digital cameras…

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