AI Toys Kickstart Gen Alpha’s High-Tech Childhood

Published 21 April 2023

2 min read

The smart toy market is expected to reach $107.6bn in 2030, up from $21.55bn in 2022 (Market Research Future, 2023). Tapping into the growing market, Taiwanese start-up Pixsee has released the Play and Friends playset, which includes a baby camera powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

In addition to letting parents monitor their child’s activity via an app, the camera uses AI to automatically snap pics and generate photo albums. The playset also includes three stuffed animals with unique personalities: when one is held in front of the camera, it identifies the toy and plays jolly or calm music to fit its character traits, helping babies develop their emotional intelligence by exploring their feelings and engaging in mood-based play.

Designed to get kids acquainted with AI, Pixsee’s products appeal to parents of Gen Alphas. Technology will shape the childhood of this generation born between 2010 and now. Globally, 54% of Alphas have their own tablets, and 41% of parents say their kids spend an average of one to two hours a day online, while almost a third – 29% – report their children being online for three to six hours daily (Morning Consult, 2023).

Parents aren’t convinced these digital experiences are wholly beneficial: 37% believe their kids’ mental health is worse than theirs was at the same age, citing access to the internet and technology as culprits (Morning Consult, 2023).

Privacy concerns are also top of mind for tech-sceptical parents, who raise the issue that AI-backed baby monitors are invasive by design. Smart camera AI relies on the footage it collects; continuously gathering data improves its ability to interpret babies’ behaviour and alert parents if necessary. But critics note this data mining turns children into products themselves.

In addition to letting parents monitor their child’s activity via an app, the camera uses AI to automatically snap pics and generate photo albums. The playset also includes three stuffed animals with unique personalities: when one is held in front of the camera, it identifies the toy and plays jolly or calm music to fit its character traits, helping babies develop their emotional intelligence by exploring their feelings and engaging in mood-based play.

Designed to get kids acquainted with AI, Pixsee’s products appeal to parents of Gen Alphas. Technology will shape the childhood of this generation born between 2010 and now. Globally, 54% of Alphas have their own tablets, and 41% of parents say their kids spend an average of one to two hours a day online, while almost a third – 29% – report their children being online for three to six hours daily (Morning Consult, 2023).

Parents aren’t convinced these digital experiences are wholly beneficial: 37% believe their kids’ mental health is worse than theirs was at the same age, citing access to the internet and technology as culprits (Morning Consult, 2023).

Privacy concerns are also top of mind for tech-sceptical parents, who raise the issue that AI-backed baby monitors are invasive by design. Smart camera AI relies on the footage it collects; continuously gathering data improves its ability to interpret babies’ behaviour and alert parents if necessary. But critics note this data mining turns children into products themselves.