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Video Game Machine for Three Year Olds

Boot Camp feature for Friday, August 13, 2004

A video game machine for three year olds. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. It arrived in stores this month for about sixty dollars. Vtech calls it the V. Smile TV learning system…a console that hooks up to your TV and lets children as young as 3 get a head start on video games. Vtech VP Julia Fitzgerald…

"The game cartridges are called Smartridges. And they actually blend learning activities with video game play. So while the kids are having fun, they are also learning school skills."

Fitzgerald says there is no violence in the games. Even so, some parents may not be comfortable with the idea of getting three year olds started on video games…

"There is always that possibility. However, video games and TV are here to stay. So what V. Smile provides is a healthy alternative, something that kids can do with their screen time that's actually productive for them."

The individual games….featuring characters licensed from Disney and familiar cartoons…sell for about twenty dollars…

"There's a range of curriculum going from basic color and shape identifications for the very young ages all the way up to math and spelling for the older age children."

If it's any consolation, some studies in recent years…including one from the University of Rochester…have indicated that video games can improve visual attention skills in children…and can help in developing hand-eye coordination. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.