Family-Safe Black Friday Deals Under $100

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Black_friday_logoThere are hundreds of amazing deals on electronics this Black Friday, as there are every year. Most of us tend to go after the best deals on the hottest items just because they’re the best deals on the hottest item. But do you know which ones are safe for your children? Then again, how do you determine what a “safe” electronic device is before you or your child actually uses it?

There are a couple of things to consider before pulling out your credit card. Can this device access the Internet? If so, are parental controls available? Is this video game age-appropriate for my child? Does this device enable in-app purchases? Doing a little bit of research prior to heading over to the store can answer most of these questions, but with the rush of Black Friday, a list could help.

Here are some Black Friday deals that you can feel comfortable buying for your child this holiday season.

MP3 Players

These mp3 players are true to their purpose: they play music. No Internet access, no games and no apps. Because of this, your parental involvement should extend as far as talking to your kids about downloading age-appropriate music responsibly.

PhilipsPhilips 4GB MP3 player ($19.88; Wal-Mart)

  • Available in blue or purple
  • PC and Mac compatible
  • 4GB of internal memory

 

 

 

Mach Speed 4GB MP3 player ($19.99; Kmart) Mach

  • PC and Mac compatible
  • 4GB of internal memory

 

 

 

SandiskSansa 4GB ClipZip MP3 player ($34.99; RadioShack)

  • PC and Mac compatible
  • 4GB of internal memory

 

 

 

 

Video Games & Consoles

Sorting through age-appropriate video games can be as easy as looking at the ESRB rating on the case, but based on what I saw, there aren’t a whole lot of options this Black Friday.

Video Games

Cars2                   Mario

Cars 2 – Nintendo Wii                        Super Mario Galaxy 2 – Nintendo Wii

($28; Wal-Mart)                                        ($41.67; Amazon.com)

 

Dancecentral                        Fifa

    Dance Central 2 – Xbox 360 w/ Kinect                   FIFA Soccer 2012 – Xbox 360

($15; Wal-Mart)                                                  ($28; Wal-Mart)

 

Consoles

Nintendo Wii, Limited Edition Blue Console ($99.96; Wal-Mart)

Blue-wii
If you aren’t already one of the millions of Wii owners, know that it can be a fun video game console for the whole family. Also know that the Wii can access the Internet, so be sure to watch this video guide on how to enable the parental controls and talk to your children about responsible use of the console.

 

Xbox 360 Kinect Bundle with Wipeout 2, Kinect Adventures, The Gunslinger and Fruit Ninja ($99; Target)

Kinect
This is a fantastic deal if you’re turn your Xbox 360 into a more “engaging experience”. But be aware that not only can the Xbox 360 access the Internet for online gaming, but the Kinect is essentially a webcam that your child can use to video chat with other people. Because of that, it’s important that you know how to configure the Family Settings on your Xbox.

Tablets

Tablets are a hot ticket item this holiday season. The good news is, there are tons of options out there, both cheap and expensive. That said, tablets don’t make the safest gifts for kids: they can access the Internet (provided that there’s Wi-Fi nearby) and purchase apps from an app marketplace.

If your kids are going nuts for these things and you decide to buy one, you might want to consider downloading some apps to start them off, and then talk to them about responsible Internet usage on the device. You may also want to look into downloading a parental monitoring app, like AVG’s Family Safety.

SylvaniaSylvania 7” Tablet ($74.99; Toys-R-Us)

  • Operating system: Android 2.2
  • 4GB of internal memory

 

 

 

LeaderLeader 7” i7 tablet ($99.99; Kmart)

  • Operating system: Android 2.2
  • 4GB of internal memory

 

 

 

 

VelocityVelocity Micro Cruz Tablet 7” ($99.99; RadioShack)

  • Operating system: Android based
  • 2GB of internal memory

 

 

 

Go-Phones

If you’re planning on buying your son or daughter their first cell phone this holiday season (like I am with my 12 year old son), then you might want to ditch the smartphone option and go with something a bit more simple and safe—something that will help them transition into having a smartphone and all the responsibilities that come with it.

A go-phone (or a non-smart phone) are great choices for a first phone. There’s no need to worry about Internet access, and therefore no reason to worry about web browsing or purchasing apps. If you go the go-phone route, you can easily moderate their texting/calling habits since everything is prepaid, whereas if you go the non-smart phone route, you know your bill will be inclusive of the “extra-line” fee. Simply put, these phones can be a great learning device for your child. Just make sure you talk to them about why you’re starting them off with a starter phone and the rules they need to follow when using it.

Below are some phones to consider, but they’re not part of any Black Friday ad. I simply added these here because I want you to know there are options, and decently priced ones, if you’re in the market to buy one. No need to feel pressure to buy a Black Friday smartphone deal, especially if your child isn’t ready.

Something to keep in mind: these go-phones have cameras, meaning your child can still send picture text messages, so talk to them about sexting, why it’s wrong and the consequences that can follow.

TmobileT-Mobile T369 Prepaid Phone – $59.49 on Amazon.com

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AttAT&T Z221 Prepaid Go-Phone – $39.99 on Amazon.com

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SamsungSamsung a197 Prepaid Go-Phone – $39.98 on Amazon.com

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