NEWS$show=/search/label/news

Here's where you'll find all the latest news about technology for children. We love to follow cool new inventions on Kickstarter and we hunt out all the latest announcements about tech toys and gadgets for the coming Christmas holidays. You'll also get our take on children's technology stories in the media.

REVIEWS$show=/search/label/review

Our kids technology product reviews are intended to help you work out whether a toy, gadget or kit is a good fit for your child or family. There's lots of cool stuff available, but is it the right choice for the child or teenager that you are buying for? We'll help you make the right choices and get the best value for money.

GIFT GUIDES$show=/search/label/gift%20guide

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends assemble. We create gift lists to help you make good choices for kids technology which helps them develop the right skills for the future. We research the best in Coding Toys and Games, Making / Craft Tools and Kits, STEM/STEAM related gifts, Programmable Robots, Electronics Kits and Gadgets for Tech Age Kids and Teens.

PROJECTS$show=/search/label/project

Get crafty with technology. Here we'll post all our ideas and projects using technology to get creative and making with kids. You'll find anything from making a lemon battery to a glow-in-the-dark Minecraft sword. Our projects are tried and tested on our own kids or at events we run, so we are sure you can have a go at home with your kids. Some of our projects use specific tech gadgets which we provide links for you to purchase.

STEM$show=/search/label/stem

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. In recent years there is an increased focus in these areas of study. We like to include Art and Design too, so we often talk about STEAM (A stands for Art). At Tech Age Kids we believe Coding is a new literacy and children need to understand how technology works, practice making skills and grow in their curiosity to make a better future for us all.

CODING$show=/search/label/coding

Coding is increasingly being recognised as an important skill for children to learn. Some will learn to code at school or at a coding club, but it's brilliant if they get support at home too.

ELECTRONICS$show=/search/label/electronics

We think it's really important for kids to get hands-on with electronics and learn how to make circuits and write code to control hardware. Younger kids can start with conductive playdough. For kids who like to combine craft and tech, littleBits are fab. And we love SAM Labs wireless electronics components for making it easy for kids to make Internet of Things inventions. Lots of electronics kits for kids have support for the Arduino microprocessor environment. The DuinoKit Jr is one of our favourites. Arduino is a fab skill for older kids and teens to develop.

ROBOTICS$show=/search/label/robotics

We love robots at Tech Age Kids, especially programmable ones. We've got lots of them and write reviews and projects that use them. Our programmable robots for kids buying guide is a good place to start if you're not sure what's available. Roby the mBot Meccano robot dog is one of our popular projects and has been with us to lots of events. Our Ozobot LEGO trailer is fab for kids who love LEGO and robots.

MAKING AND CRAFT$show=/search/label/making

We're advocates of the creative use of technology, but this needs to be balanced with developing physical skills such as papercraft, woodwork, clay modelling, technical drawing and soldering. If children don't develop these skills as they grow up then physical making projects can become frustrating rather than fun. The Maker Community uses the term 'making' as a broad term to include all sorts of artisan skills or craft activities. Being able to make things can lead to life-long hobbies or even careers. It's a great feeling to be able to take a project from an idea in your head to a real object that does something. We're particularly interested to explore products that combine maker skills with tech skills such as electronics but others focus purely on the physical making skills that are still important to modern making.

Where are the Robots for Girls? We found some, but not enough


We see a lot of programmable robots for children and beginners at Tech Age Kids. It's an exciting time for educational STEM and STEAM products. But we can't help but spot that most of the robots are blue and lots of them have male names. The majority are not very appealing to girls.

Now you can argue that blue doesn't have to be a girl's colour, it's an arbitrary cultural code, and anyway, lots of girls like blue and lots don't. But it's clear that blue is a marketing shorthand to indicate that 'this product is suitable for boys.'

We have found some robots that appeal to girls, but nowhere near as many as we would like to see given the number of programmable robots that are available.




When I first spotted the trend I wondered if it was just a coincidence, but the evidence is overwhelming. I feel like I'm in a groundhog day style cycle of conversations like this:

Me: "Why is your robot blue and called Albert, blue is marketing speak for 'this is for boys' and Albert is a boy's name, your product isn't very girl-friendly."

Them: "Blue was the cheapest colour plastic, we showed some kids and they liked it. Alfred can be a girl's name too. Girls love our product, we even put some girls in the photos."

(If any companies or brands recognise themselves in the above discussions, it isn't just you, we've had lots of similar discussions.)

Sometimes it's red-and-black, or green-and-black which are also easily identifiable as products for boys.

Is it that companies are terrified that if their product isn't clearly identifiable as 'for boys' then people won't buy it for boys and that will affect their sales considerably? That might be true if the product was clearly identifiable as 'for girls', but surely it's possible to create more robots that have a gender neutral appeal?

Maybe companies are looking to see what the market leaders are doing and then copying their colour scheme to be on the safe side and save on market research.

There are studies that show that blue is the favourite colour for men and women. But if you look at the research more deeply you find that "The mean hue preference curves for males and females differ significantly. The average female preference rises steeply to a sustained peak in the reddish-purple region, and falls rapidly in the greenish-yellow region, whereas the male preference is shifted towards blue-green and less pronounced." source So actually, yes, women do prefer colours with blue in them, but when combined with red. To my eye, once you add red to blue you get purple. 'Blue' also encompasses a huge range of colours. I'm not a particular fan of blue or green, but I really like Teal. Shades of colour are really important. If companies are justifying their choice with 'blue is the world's favourite colour' that seems too simplistic.

A few products have chose a teal / azure blue which seems to be more popular with girls than other shades. But that doesn't give us much in the way of variety. And some people will still just see them as 'blue'.

I want to be very clear that I'm not asking the industry for pink robots. I don't actually think that we need different tech for girls and boys. We know that it often adds expense to produce more colours, and offering alternative colours often means that all the promotional images still feature the favoured colour scheme. I would like more robots to be customisable with stickers and accessories so that kids can make their own decisions about how their robots should look.

At a recent event, we attracted a lot of girls with our micro:bit in Wonderland projects and I had the chance to discuss tech issues with them. A few mentioned that coding at school is "games programming and robots - boys stuff." We'll have to pick on the games topic another time, but robots as boys stuff, that's concerning.

Robots are very much girl's stuff. We seriously need women to be involved in the future of robotics otherwise we might not get the best future (have you see West World!). I've previously written about why young people should learn about robotics.

I'm concerned that young people aren't finding out what robotics is really about. A lot of the issues are around how we, as humans, want to interact with robot pets and companions, how we want humans and robots to work together at home and work and how robots should be involved in elder care.

If you were the kind of person to think that boys are better suited to engineering (nonsense!) then you'd probably be the kind of person that thinks that girls are better suited to these ethical and emotional issues.

The truth is these issues are best tackled by people who have a thorough understanding of technical and ethical issues.

Virtual assistants are becoming mainstream, did you notice they're all female? Interesting. So those robots can be female. Are kids tech toy manufacturers avoiding girl robots to avoid the association with subservient female robot assistants? I doubt it.

We're seeing lots of white home robot companions appearing, they all look pretty similar. But the ones that are designed for kids to learn with seem to end up blue or blue and white. Or sometimes a choice of colour but with blue as the colour in all the photos.

Does something as trivial as colour really matter? We think it does. When we started setting up our stand with lots of purple including purple laptops we got more girls than boys (previously we would always see lots more boys even though Elbrie and I are female.) So from our experience, colour does have a big influence.


Robots for Girls

There are some tech companies who have managed to create products that appeal to girls and boys, or to girls specifically. I've taken a look to find robots that are readily available, not blue or using other masculine color-schemes, and not featuring a male character.

Here's what I came up with:

Gender Neutral Robots

  1. Sphero Mini is a new smaller programmable robot from Sphero. We're really pleased to see that they've broadened out form their signature blue to offer the Sphero Mini in a range of bright colours and plain white. Yes, there's a pink one! But there's also nice bright fruity orange and a lime green that should appeal widely, and the blue in the new range is a bright turquoise.

    The size and cute accessories really make this robot stand out as gender neutral and it shows that it really doesn't take much for manufacturers to design a product that won't alienate a lot of girls.

    Because the Sphero Mini uses the well established Sphero EDU platform, it's not just a gimmick, there's real educational value and play value here.
  2. OzoBot Bit and Evo come in Crystal White - these robots are cute and gender neutral. Yes, the lights are set to blue in the main promo photo for OzoBot Evo but they are RGB lights. Unfortunately, the recent trend for OzobBot is for tie-ins with male characters. 
  3. MiroBot - this is a white wooden drawing robot that can be programmed with Python.
  4. Edison - an orange LEGO compatible robot which is affordable and can be programmed with a choice of languages. You could argue that Edison might appeal a bit more to boys with its colour scheme, but we're struggling to find options here!
  5. Sparki - a high quality educational robot which has lots of educational material to teach robotics concepts. 
These robots have a strong educational focus. Being gender neutral has always been important in schools. 


Robots for Girls

  1. SmartGurlz Siggy - a programmable moped that comes with a doll. There are a range of different dolls with different appearances and different coloured mopeds. 
  2. Dance Code Belle - a programmable dancing doll for younger children (coming soon.)

    This programmable doll (see, it doesn't have to be a robot as such!) has been designed for girls (and boys who love Belle, we hope) aged 5+. We love the idea as it combines choreography, which has a lot in common with algorithm design, with coding.

    Dance Code Belle is a refreshing alternative to just designing robots for boys and then making a pink version.
  3. mBot Pink - the mBot in pink instead of its usual blue. This is a fantastic robot with Scratch integration and some girls like pink, but not all of them!
These are robots designed for the home market and feature female characters.

I think it's important to point out that while some girls will love products like this, others would rather have the robots that are marketed towards boys. 


Teal, Azure and Turquoise Robots

There are some robots that while blue, use a Teal/Azure/Turquoise colour that seems to have more girl-appeal than pale blue, royal blue or navy. 

  1. Dash and Dot - these robots for younger kids are seriously cute, their rounded design also helps them to appear friendly and fairly gender neutral. 
  2. LEGO Boost - we do think that this kit is still biased towards boys in its colour scheme and the model that you can create, but it's better than most of the alternatives. 

Verdict

When you consider how many programmable robots for children are on the market, this is a pretty poor showing. 

So, we can't say there are no programmable robots designed for girls. But there are loads of programmable robots for kids on the market and the majority look like they have been designed to appeal to boys. 

This doesn't make sense. Robots are very much a girl thing. Robots are developing into virtual assistants, home companions and electronic pets and workers at home, work and in hospitals and the service industry. 

Girls and women need to participate in the important decisions that need to be made around how AI and robotics develops. Should all voice assistants have female personalities while programmable robots for kids are male? Surely not.

Girls should have the opportunity to learn about robotics without feeling like they are doing 'boy stuff' and being bought boys toys. Having some girl-specific products, especially where they feature girl characters, makes sense, just as it makes sense to have some products with boy characters (though we're not convinced that these have to be separate products rather than variants.)





Name

2013,13,3d printing,5,3DTin,2,accessories,1,activities,1,adafruit,1,adventure games,1,amazon,12,amazon fire,2,amazon prime,1,android,6,angry birds,1,animation,6,anki,1,app,18,app toy,4,app toys,8,appcessories,1,apple,1,apps,25,arcbotics,1,architecture,4,arckit,9,arduino,33,art,1,artificial intelligence,5,astronauts,2,astronomy,1,augmented reality,11,automaton,1,awards,1,battle bots,2,battling robots,2,bedtime,1,big kids,99,big tablets,1,bigtrak,1,bike,1,binary,1,birthday,4,bitsbox,1,black friday,2,blockly,1,blogging,1,bloxels,1,bluetooth,2,board games,7,books,34,boolean box,1,breadboard,2,bricks,1,brixo,1,buying guide,5,camera,4,cameras,1,card game,1,careers,2,catroid,1,celebration,1,cellphone,1,ces,2,chemistry,2,chess,1,christmas,42,circuit cubes,1,circuit playground,8,circuit scribe,10,cleaning,1,climbing,1,code clubs,1,code-a-pillar,1,codebug,1,coder,2,coding,169,cognitive learning,1,communication,1,comparison,1,competition/challenges,9,computational thinking,3,computer,2,computer games,1,computer science,2,computer vision,2,computers,1,computing,1,conductive playdough,2,connected toys,7,construction,40,conversational ai,1,cozmo,1,craft,34,craft cutter,3,creative thinking,1,creativity,3,crochet,1,crowdfunding,119,css,1,cubs,1,curiosity,1,curious chip,1,cyber monday,1,dads,1,data,1,deals,4,dens,2,design,10,design process,1,design thinking,7,digital parenting,2,digital skills,13,disability,1,disney infinity,1,dog tech,1,dolls,2,drawing,2,drones,2,duinokit,1,earth day,1,Easter,4,ebooks,11,eco,1,edblocks,1,edison,5,edtech,1,education,79,egypt,1,electricity,1,electronic pets,2,electronic toys,2,electronics,141,electronics kit,3,electronics kits,1,electtronics,1,elementary,1,elenco,2,energy,1,engineering,17,entertainment,1,ereader,1,ereaders,6,esafety,1,escape the room,1,event,21,ewriter,1,exercise,4,family,12,family tech,2,fathers day,1,Festival of Code,1,fiction,1,fitness tracker,2,flotilla,3,flow charts,1,flutterbye fairy,1,flying,1,force awakens,2,force friday,2,future,2,gadgets,36,games,35,games console,2,games consoles,8,gaming,3,gift guide,53,gifts,12,girls,23,giveaway,4,glow in the dark,1,google,1,grace hopper,1,grove,1,hackaball,2,hacksoton,1,halloween,12,halloween costumes,1,hardware,2,headphones,1,health,1,hexbug,3,hexbug aquabots,1,hexbug project,1,high school,1,history,26,home,1,home education,2,homeschool,4,hot toys,7,hour of code,3,html,4,humanoid,4,ICT,1,in app purchasing,1,indiegogo,13,industry event,9,innotab,5,innotab 3,3,innotab 3s,1,internet access,1,interviews,1,invention,4,ios,3,IoT,4,ipad,7,ipad mini,1,iphone,2,jacquard,1,japan,1,java,1,javascript,5,k'nex,7,k'nex robotics,1,kano,8,keyboard,1,kickstarter,91,kids,3,kindle,5,kindle fire,8,kit,2,kits,5,kodu,1,kubo,1,label printer,1,languages,1,laptop,1,laptops,1,last minute,1,leap motion,1,leapfrog,2,leappad,7,leappad 2,3,leappad ultra,3,leappad2,1,leapreader,1,learning,5,learning resources,5,learning tablet,2,learning tablets,9,leds,2,lego,36,lego boost,1,lego chain reactions,1,lego mindstorms ev3,5,lego power functions,2,lego technic,5,lego wedo,2,let's start coding,1,lights,1,lightseekers,1,little kids,110,littlebits,16,logiblocs,1,logic,3,logical thinking,4,loom,1,machines,1,magnetic,1,make it,2,makeblock,16,makedo,1,maker,6,makey makey,6,making,54,mardles,1,mars,1,mars rover,1,marty,1,math,3,maths,1,mbot,6,mbot ranger,1,me arm,1,meccano,6,meccanoid,5,meccanoid 2.0,1,merge vr,1,mews,1,michael faraday,1,micro:bit,9,microbit,6,microcontroller,5,microscope,1,microsoft,2,middle school,6,miles kelly,1,mindstorms,3,minecraft,21,minecraft mods,1,mixed reality,1,mobile,1,modular electronics,2,monsters university,1,morse code,2,mothers day,4,motion capture,1,motors,2,mover kit,3,movie,1,movies,4,mu,1,mu toys,1,munzee,1,music,10,my first robot,2,national dog day,1,nature,1,new year,1,news,169,news coding,1,nikola tesla,1,nintendo,2,nintendo switch,3,ohbot,3,ollie,3,on the web,1,opinion,19,origami,1,osmo,4,outdoors,13,ouya,1,ozobot,10,papercraft,3,parental controls,2,parenting,34,parrot,1,pc,1,people,8,pet tech,2,pets,3,phone,1,photography,1,photon,1,physics,3,pi day,1,picks,2,pimoroni,1,pinoccio,1,pixel kit,1,pixelart,4,play,2,playstation 4,3,plezmo,1,pocket code,1,pocket money,1,pokemon,4,pokemon go,4,poll,1,pre order,1,pre-teens,1,prehistory,1,preschoolers,41,primary,41,printable,1,products,34,professor einstein,1,programming,15,project,102,projects,11,puzzles,4,python,10,racing,1,raspberry pi,29,reading,12,reivew,1,remote control,1,research,3,resource,34,resources,2,retro,2,review,219,rights,1,robot,10,robot dog,1,robot fish,1,robot wars,3,ROBOTERRA,1,roboticals,1,robotics,32,robots,140,role models,1,role play,1,romo,1,romotive,1,root,1,rover,1,safety,2,sam labs,6,samuel morse,1,sandbox,1,schools,3,science,16,scratch,44,scratchjr,2,screen time,2,screenless,15,screens,1,sensors,5,servos,1,simbrix,7,skills,1,skylanders,3,skylanders superchargers,1,skylanders swap force,1,smart pens,1,smartphone,1,smartwatch,1,snap circuits,2,social media,1,solar power,2,soldering,2,sonic pi,1,sony koov,1,sound,3,space,8,sparki,2,speaker,3,speech sythesis,1,sphero,12,sphero mini,1,spider,2,star wars,6,stars,1,STEAM,1,stem,10,stikbot,1,stop motion,2,stop motion studio,1,storage,1,story,2,strawbees,2,students,1,subscription,5,subscriptions,1,sugru,1,summer,7,swift,1,tablet,2,tablets,23,tangible coding,2,tech,3,tech age,1,tech craft,4,tech is bad,7,tech is good,4,tech toys,21,tech will save us,10,technology,2,technology will save us,3,teens,61,teknikio,3,tekno,1,teksta,1,tenka labs,1,tesla,1,textiles,1,thames & kosmos,2,the extraordinaires,1,tim berners lee,1,tinkercad,1,tinybop,3,toddlers,8,toot-toot,1,top pick,4,touch,1,toy,1,toys,5,travelling,1,TV,1,tween,1,tweens,118,tynker,2,typing,1,ux,1,vehicles,1,videos,3,view-master,1,views,10,virtual reality,8,voice assistants,1,voice recognition,2,vtech,8,web,2,websites,1,wifi,1,wii,2,wii u,2,windows 8,1,wonder workshop,9,wowwee,2,writing,7,writing. education,1,xbox one,2,xyzprinting,1,
ltr
item
Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: Where are the Robots for Girls? We found some, but not enough
Where are the Robots for Girls? We found some, but not enough
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-uMujRPqEnfY/WY4dhyRKK0I/AAAAAAAAGAA/8M5Hl2ymIjMs4A_TdVp5F0lYi7mbTCM8ACLcBGAs/s640/where-are-the-robots-for-girls%2Bhead.png
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-uMujRPqEnfY/WY4dhyRKK0I/AAAAAAAAGAA/8M5Hl2ymIjMs4A_TdVp5F0lYi7mbTCM8ACLcBGAs/s72-c/where-are-the-robots-for-girls%2Bhead.png
Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children
https://www.techagekids.com/2017/08/where-are-robots-for-girls-we-found.html
https://www.techagekids.com/
https://www.techagekids.com/
https://www.techagekids.com/2017/08/where-are-robots-for-girls-we-found.html
true
15639169850959392
UTF-8
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Readmore Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share to a social network STEP 2: Click the link on your social network Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy