Oh, for the days when a parent's major concerns were merely junior choking to death on a stray Lego or being burned alive in non-retardent PJs. But no more. As Wired News reports, this week's Toy Fair at the Javits Center was not only a festival of the intellectually uplifting — like, say, the "sculpture in a box" for the mini-Calder in your life — but also a smorgasbord of digitally locked-down playthings designed to keep children from BlackBerrying themselves (or texting or IMing or whatever kids do these days) into the arms of dirty old perverts.
Mattel's pink IM-Me, for example, forces girls to be in range of the parental computer to use, and only allows them to IM people in a pre-approved address book; Fisher-Price's Easy-Link Internet Launchpad uses figurine keys to keep kids on safe sites; Hasbro's Net Jet online gaming system does the same; and — best of all — Erector's Spyke is a Short Circuit-esque robot that will actually monitor the tykes from afar. But, still, we can't help wondering what the point is. Isn't it just a matter of time till these kids are showing themselves off to the world, anyway?