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A voice game boom is giving kids a break from screen time

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Yoto In a Massachusetts home, a family gathers around the kitchen table. The parents tune in to the device that sits at the head of the table. Moments later, a cheery voice quiets the chatter as the whole family settles in to listen.

No, this isn’t a scene from the golden era of the wireless. This is the Daniels home during covid-19 lockdown, and the focus of the family’s attention is Yoto , an audio device designed to compete with the apps and videos that modern children usually use. It’s not unlike a cassette player: users can click in a card prerecorded with a story or game. Yoto can also play fresh daily episodes, such as the children’s newscast the Daniels family listens to every morning.

“The lack of the screen was the big thing,” says Brian Daniels, the father. “Promoting creative thinking and play was important for us—something that could keep your attention and be productive.”

The science behind whether screen time is actually bad for kids is still unsettled, and many experts believe the dangers have been overblown. Despite that, many parents are still worried that their children spend too much time staring at tablets and televisions. For these families, […]

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