By choosing wisely this season, you can not only get popular toys that your little ones will love, but you can also foster a security mindset in your children. The following toys are the top 2018 options that harness the power of play to ensure that the next generation is prepared for the world that awaits them.
1. Elephant Security Blanket
It’s never too early to embed the proper worldview in your offspring, and this fuzzy blanket can remind kids that they should always keep security no more than an arm’s reach away. The “super soft plush fabric” provides warmth and comfort, while the animal character will quickly become a special friend. The pink pachyderm is also a constant visual reminder to your infant that, just like elephants, the internet never forgets. Both this blanket and all of their online activity will be around for a lifetime.
As your children grow older, these “loveable, wearable pom pom pets” will teach them the need for close interpersonal relationships with others. Many pet-centric toys also teach responsibility; they require food, care and interaction. Pomsies are no exception—in addition to food and attention, they also have an insatiable thirst for physical exertion. Once in “freeze dance” mode, they monitor and respond to your toddler’s movement, thus introducing them to the concept that “unless exercise is monitored and documented, it didn’t happen.” (As such, they are a perfect gateway toy for you to hand down your old Fitbit devices.)
Pomsies are wearables with ample room to add a GPS tracking device, hidden inside their lush coats, which would allow you to track your offspring at all times. Think of the discussions at the dinner table about geofencing and the privacy implications of location tracking! With a simple modification and a marketing jingle that will bounce around in your brain for days, these loveable pets can teach valuable security lessons even before little Timmy has the ability to talk.
3. furReal Rock-A-Too The Show Bird
If Pomsies are the FitBit for the pre-verbal crowd, the furReal Rock-A-Too The Show Bird is the Alexa/Google Home/HomePod for the babbling bambinos in your household. Not only does it play music, dance, and tell jokes, it also has the power to record and playback whatever comes out of your four-year-old’s mouth. Why wait for a home assistant to interrupt important conversations when you can rely on this bird to randomly regurgitate fragments from your children’s psyche? This reporting of potentially sensitive material will help inculcate a healthy paranoia about the constant threat of being recorded or overheard. As a follow-up, why not reinforce the message that “silence means security” by showing “The Quiet Place” to your impressionable three-year-old twins on family movie night?
4. L.O.L. Surprise! Under Wraps Doll – Series Eye Spy 2A
A sphere that slowly reveals its payload? Secret surprise codes? These are the building blocks of cryptography, presented in all their glittery splendor. While the codes and secret messages seem to be slightly more crackable than, say, AES 256, safe use of encryption begins in the home. Do you want your children learning the facts of public and private key encryption on the playground at school? Remember the message of A Christmas Story: “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine” is not just a marketing slogan, it’s a parenting philosophy. As an added bonus, the included “mystery disguise” will come in handy when your offspring are forced to assume a new identity after their original one is stolen in their adolescence.
5. Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Smart Learning Home
Let’s face it: the Internet of Things is here. By learning that anything man-made in their world is interactive, your precocious tot will easily make the logical leap that everything they ever come in contact with is internet-connected. Before you know it, they will no longer be engaged with the analog world—reading books for information or using their senses to explore the environment. Instead, they’ll adapt to a world in which everything responds to verbal interaction. (It’s probably a good idea to force your future teenagers to wear those aforementioned Pomsies into adulthood: obesity is becoming an epidemic.) Be aware, however, that by giving this toy to your children, you’re locking yourself into the Fisher-Price ecosystem.
6. 8-Channel 4K HD 2TB NVR with Eight 4K Bullet Security Cameras (Military-grade Surveillance System)
I know what you’re thinking: “Mike – why would I buy this? I already have cameras hidden in various places around the house because I don’t trust Nancy.” Overlooking the potential trust issues with your spouse/babysitter/oddly-named-pet, I would agree with you – at least in part. You do likely already have cameras in your house, whether it’s a video doorbell or a camera to monitor your child’s sleep. But I have one word for you: deterrence. How are your kids going to grow accustomed to the behavioral modification through live monitoring employed by both governments and shopping mall cops worldwide if they don’t start early? To be able to cope with constant surveillance in the dystopian future in which everything they do will be visually recorded, the next generation needs to internalize a total lack of privacy. In addition, installing a professional-grade surveillance system will also allow you to recreate the lifestyle that you had grown accustomed to before you had children.
You thought that yelling at the miscreants on your lawn through your doorbell was pretty great? Just wait until we extend the telecommuting paradigm to child rearing: “teleparenting.” Security – and the technology it brings – truly has the power to benefit us all.
By selecting one of the toys from this list, you are preparing your progeny to not only be secure in the world they live in, but also in the reality they will face as they mature into adulthood. Your responsibility as a parent is to make sure that your offspring are not merely competitive, but better than their peers in terms of their health, financial well-being, emotional maturity, physical attractiveness, acerbic wit, athletic prowess, popularity, and ultimate long-term happiness. Prevent the children of your future from blaming you for their insecurities by teaching them the importance of security through play this holiday season.