There is no doubt that being a mother to three boys has been the biggest challenge of my life. Learning to navigate the world of parenting for three very different children keeps me on my toes. There is a lot of great advice on how we should be raising our kids, but ultimately, we are all figuring it out on our own unique path.
One of the biggest challenges and concerns I have always had is how to balance access to technology for my children in our home. There are many benefits technology offers and we (and our children) have an incredible level of access to information. The world is a smaller place as a result, and we almost take for granted some of these incredible opportunities technology enables us to pursue daily.
However, for all of this, there are drawbacks too. Increased exposure to screens from a younger age, the risk of being exposed to inappropriate content, listening devices in connected speakers and the potential for our kids to encounter people online that we don’t know.
As a mum, I was always anxious about screen time and leaving my children with devices that I couldn’t completely control. It was a constant worry, never knowing what they were watching or if they had accidentally clicked through to something other than what I thought they were doing. My kids on the other hand craved independence and wanted to explore on their own. Cue meltdowns and power struggles with my two-year-old!
We were looking for a way to manage what our kids were watching and hearing, while still empowering them to play independently and control as much of it as possible. The result was something that would set my career path onto a whole new direction, we decided to create Birde, a smart media player designed especially for children.
It became such a passion that building and growing this business is now my full-time job.
Every aspect of the Birde smart media player has been designed with these concerns and experiences in mind. Our speaker is completely child-led, with all the content activated through little tokens that we call Birde Seeds. Children simply tap the Birde Seed they choose on the front of the player to make it play music, video or my favourite, audiobooks. As parents, we can monitor discreetly with the Birde app on our own smart phone, but the kids have no direct access to the internet themselves. For us, Birde is a way of encouraging our kids’ naturally inquisitive minds and their desire to explore within a safe and controlled environment.
We have been thrilled by the response to Birde so far. Australian parents have embraced it, and we are looking at overseas opportunities too. And key content partners understand and can also see our vision. The ABC is an important partner of ours, as is Nickelodeon, and collectively they have some of the world’s most recognised franchises in children’s entertainment, all now also at home on Birde.
While I never thought I would be designing technology for children, it is a journey I am passionate to be on, as we help parents both navigate these tricky issues while still giving kids the chance to make choices, explore, learn and enjoy creating their own space.
The Birde console is available from www.birde.co, Bing Lee, Betta Electrical stores, Leading Edge Group and Myer Online for RRP $299. The Seeds retail for between $11.95 and $29.95 a pack from birde.co
To find out more, you can visit: https://birde.co
Women Love Tech would like to thank Leah Corkin for this article.