Through my work with Smart Mom Picks, I’ve had the opportunity to try out several unique products for children. One of the most interesting items I’ve run across, however, is Chatman. This adorable yellow plastic version of the emoticons used in instant messaging software is intended to be a “friend” that guides your kid’s Internet experience.
I initially had a bit of trouble getting Chatman installed on my son’s computer, although I suspect that might have been simply due to the older operating system and outdated plug-ins he was using. Once we got Chatman running, however, my seven-year-old son had no trouble figuring out how to use him to play games, chat, and watch movies.
Many of the games and videos you can access through the Chatman software are available online through YouTube and other sources. However, having a convenient way for your child to access pre-filtered content is definitely helpful.
If you purchase a supplementary subscription, you can also use your Chatman to block adult-oriented websites from your kid’s computer during general web surfing.
As for Chatman himself, my son fell in love with this toy almost immediately. He was amazed at how many different things Chatman could say and how Chatman seemed to grow smarter the more we used him. He also got a kick out of naming his Chatman and choosing his personality. (In case you were wondering, our Chatman is a boy, better known as Bob.)
Chatman has a ton of different features. At the time of this review, I feel like I have only a basic understanding of everything he can do. But, I do think this is a high-tech toy kids with regular computer access will enjoy.
I wouldn’t recommend relying on it as a substitute for proper online supervision, but it certainly seems like a helpful tool for modern families interested in teaching their children how to use technology responsibly.
Chatman is available nationwide through several different retailers, includingÂ Toys ‘R’ Us.
photo credit: Toys ‘R’ Us