Yes, mind your iPads, the kids are about! According to a Disney survey carried out in July (reported by The Guardian recently), 75%of British parents who owned an app-capable device, shared them with their children, and considered them to be an “integral” part of family life.
Having voiced a couple of very interactive children’s iPad story apps recently, and a growing number of enquiries, I have certainly become aware of what Lorna Bradbury of The Telegraph describes as ‘a burgeoning market starting to come into its own’.
I wanted to find out about the scale of the industry, so I asked an iPad owning colleague of mine to do a search of ‘children’s audiobooks’…This basic search brought up 89 titles alone so far. They could only do a word search as, currently, there is no ‘Kids’ category, although they can be found by searching between categories such as entertainment, games, education and books. Maybe even the large app stores such as Apple and Google have yet to catch up with demand and add one?!
A growing number of digital-only publishers, some of them UK-based, have been set up specifically to provide interactive children’s apps for the iPhone, iPad and other digital media, rather than the traditional publishing companies who have subsequently added digital media to their product range.
There are a whole range of kids apps on offer. Some apps are stories made available on the iPad in text format. Others have sound, right through to the fully interactive (like the ones I’ve just done), complete with story narration, characterisations, voiced and other sound effects, and music, bringing the stories to life in wholly imaginative and innovative ways. Many have educational elements too, and can be a fun way of learning.
The other day, I was chatting to a close family friend’s daughter on the phone, and as we exchanged what we’d both been doing that day, I mentioned that I’d been voicing an iPad children’s story for kids. ‘Wow!’, she said excitedly…followed by: ‘I’ve got one of those’. ‘Got one what?’ I enquired. ‘An iPad’. Rather than being shared, it seems that even the days of ‘the kids are on my iPad again’ are numbered…the kids have already ‘got one’!