First of all, please only comment if you are on board with hand held games for kids. This is not a debate about whether kids should be allowed to play video games at all, ie., I’ve already decided to get my son one of these devices and have spent enough years wishing I were a Waldorf mom while allowing my kids to watch Sponge Bob and even thinking that the show is actually funny. We can have that conversation at some other point. Here’s the question: My son is desperate for the optimal gaming device for FIFA 13 and other such games. Many of his friends have the PS handheld. My husband has been arguing in favor of the iPad Mini. First off, prices are comparable and would essentially be the one and only present under the tree, with the exception of a few little stocking stuffers. You can hear my guilt, but let’s just say, I’ve made my deal with the digital device devil and the question is, which is the lesser of evils.

Pros and cons for each: The PS is explicitly engineered for games. The more complicated the game, the better it is. Ipad Mini has greater computing power, which means it’s more versatile. Both have wifi internet, email and gaming, Mini does the internet and email better, PS does gaming better. On its face, iPad is a better all-around device and therefore better value.

My bigger debate is less clear cut and this is where I need the Greek chorus. My feeling is that all Apple products have an air of adult luxury to them and my refrain is: If I as a 40-something-year-old would be excited to get a Mini, is it okay to give one to my kid? It raises the question of if you give them something like that now, what do they have to look forward to. I’ve already resigned to spending the almost $300 either way. Is this a ridiculous line to draw? Again, please refrain from judging if you aren’t someone who is in favor of the game device at all.

Some chatter in the blogosphere:


CNet Review

Daily News



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Comments (11)


  1. Posted by: Dee

    Not sure if this is something that would work for you but we opted for the Ipad because some of the games are really educational and still fun. Our boy is only six though. So we purchased it for the family and he has media time each day when he can use it. That way we can curb his “addiction” and he doesn’t own the product.

  2. Posted by: Suzanne

    My parents are getting our kids an iPad mini for Christmas. We thought a lot about it. I like that they can use it to watch movies, and I guess somehow a device designed specifically for games is harder for me to justify. The kids like taking pictures. One is taking animation classes. I might be just kidding myself that the iPad has more creative and educational applications, but that’s what I am telling myself. They would probably rather have a Wii, truth be told.

  3. Posted by: Lisl

    You can probably do more with the iPad mini then the Vita. My husband’s vote for you is to go with the iPad mini. His reasoning is that there are way more games (apps) available for it then there are games for the Vita. If your son wants a particular game though, I’d make sure it’s available for the iPad before going that route.

    I’m not so sure Apple products are really “adult luxury” items anymore. So many kids have iPods, iPhones, and iPads now! In addition, I think there are many adult men out there who’d be happy to get a Vita. :)

  4. Posted by: Rcb

    I am so glad to have read this post. I think you nailed the dilemma. There is something just too grown up about Apple products for kids to have one that is their “own.” Ultimately that’s what we decided anyway. We have a family iPad and a Wii will be delivered by Santa.

  5. Posted by: Stefanie

    If FIFA 13 is the primary driver of this purchase, I would go with the Vita, even though I personally favor the mini. My 8 year old soccer fanatic also loves FIFA 13. Even tho he plays it on the family ipad or my iphone, he prefers it on the wii.

    Did you see this article from Feb where cnet compared playing Fifa on the ipad and the vita?$39.99/

  6. I also worry about giving these luxurious items for the same reasons that you do – but I have to agree with the reader who emphasized that they have ceased to be adult luxury items simply by virtue of their presence everywhere. It’s not uncommon for these things to be owned by kids and the technology improves so rapidly that today’s luxury item is tomorrow’s staple. I think you’re on the right track by making sure that the tree isn’t overflowing with additional gifts, helping them to appreciate this luxury while it’s still a luxury.

  7. Posted by: Katie

    We have an iPad for the family and love it. It’s just so versatile. We also have an xbox with Kinect (better than a Wii IMO) and we all love that too. I especially love that my son can get some good exercise (we all can) when the whether is foul. For a handheld device I would vote for the iPad, and perhaps set your sights on getting a separate gaming console in the future?

  8. Posted by: Nancy

    Because our kids are younger (2.5 & 4.5), my husband and I discussed either getting the mini or one of those LeapFrog tablets. I argued for the mini because while the device itself is more expensive, the games are cheap or free. We wouldn’t have to worry about cartridges since everything can be downloaded. Also, I felt that the mini would grow with the kids, so it seems like a more practical investment. That said, if a teenager wants a gaming system, you should probably get the gaming system. Why not get the mini or a regular iPad as a family gift? Let us know what you decided to do!

  9. Posted by: Andrea

    I’m voting for the PS. I think it might be a bit sturdier if your son drops it. Also, if most of his friends have the PS, I think he’d prefer to have the same device. I also agree, there’s something grown-up about an iPad and more kid-like about a gaming system. My vote: PS.

  10. Posted by: Heija

    I assume like many of us, you already have an iPad and home computers that are regularly co-opted by the kids. If you have the other technolgies I say go for the dedicated gaming device; a gift just for him to treasure and value. It will make his Christmas and he will still have the other devices available to learn and use.

    Thank you for sharing your conundrum, it helps us all inform the myriad mommy choices we face each day. I love practical advice,and you are giving one-stop services so keep it up! But please don’t get too dwelly or sidetracjked by contrary judgment and opinions beyond consumer advice. These are your kids to raise, your money to allocate and your decision to make guided by your many years of highly competent and attentive parenting. I know you are an amazing mother raisng well-rounded boys, Fifa and Playstation aren’t going to undo that!

    Happy shopping!

  11. Posted by: Shalini

    We’ve had similar debates here over our 7 year old son’s gift. In the end, we got ourselves an ipad for the family, and decided against a Nintendo DS3 for him. Instead we got him more LeapPad Explorer games, there’s a Spongebob one and an X-Men one, and he got this last year from my parents. He wants his own “iphone” and “ipad”, and would use my laptop all the time to search Pokemon cards and watch the episodes if he could. There is definitely an air of luxury to apple products that seems to be sending a funny (uncomfortable to you and me) message. That would be: yes, you are as entitled as mummy. But that’s not the case! I hope!

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