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(Leslie Banks/Thinkstock)
(Leslie Banks/Thinkstock)

All your six-year-old wants for Christmas is...an iPad Add to ...

This holiday season, kids have Apple products on the brain.

According to new Nielsen stats, 44 per cent of kids between the ages six and 12 want an iPad for the holidays. The runners up? Thirty per cent want an iPod Touch and 27 per cent want an iPhone.

Ponies, dolls and skateboards didn't even make the list. The top 18 most coveted gifts are all in the tech realm, Nintendo 3DS, TV sets and E-readers all made the cut.

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But isn't six a little, say, young for an iPad?

Actually, it might be on the older side.

In 2010, tech writer Mike Elgan deemed the iPad "Children's Toy of the Year." "Parents are always looking for electronic babysitters to pacify their kids so they can do something else -- drive, for example, or make dinner."

This rings a bell. Think of all the times you've seen a child wailing for their parent's smart devices at restaurants, in waiting rooms, maybe even your own car. Their hot little hands intuitively interpret these touch devices as toys.

When Mr. Elgan was writing this, the iPad had yet to be released. He wagered that, as ludicrous as it sounded at the time, parents would be willing to shell out $500 on a toy because it's not just a toy. It's a chest full of them.

"An iPad is an ideal kid pacifier. For starters, parent-selected children's apps for the iPad are likely to be more educational than TV. As a replacement or substitute for in-car entertainment for kids, iPads are better because kids can change the app. The parent doesn't have to put everyone's lives at risk trying to swap DVDs."

The old-fashioned story book is turning interactive, thanks to iPad apps. One app designer's two-year-old son has developed an outlandish perception: A book is just an iPad that doesn't work.

And that two-year-old isn't the only one. YouTube is flooded with videos of kids playing with iPads and iPhones. One parent took this a little further by juxtaposing a little tyke playing, giggling with an iPad, with footage of the bewildered one-year-old poking and swiping at a magazine. To the little digital native's chagrin, nothing happens. "For my 1 year old daughter, a magazine is an iPad that does not work," the video notes. "It will remain so for her whole life. Steve Jobs has coded a part of her OS."

At least it's a gift the whole family can enjoy, right?

Would you buy your six-year-old an iPad?

 

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