Ipod Mp3 Player ?

Updated on October 05, 2010
L.L. asks from Granby, CT
10 answers

My son is turning 8 and is asking for an ipod. I know nothing about them, the different kinds or how much they cost. He did get a cheap mp3 player for xmas last year and his uncle downloaded some music for him but I could never figure the thing out. Do any of your younger kids have these devices? How do they hold up? Can you plug them in to something so you can listen to the music without headphones? How much does it cost to buy the music to download on them? Should I just get him a boom box instead, thats a little more in my comfort zone :) but them he would need to buy a bunch of cds. Please advise the non-tech mom. Thanks.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

How responsible is he with this things? An ipod is expensive, personally I think an mp3 player is just fine for that age, although they do require batteries. We have rechargeable ones and they are fine, you will not lose the songs when the batteries die as someone else posted. I would wait another year or two before going to an ipod, unless he has proven to be careful of his stuff, $100-150 is a LOT of money if it breaks or gets lost in the first few months! My 13 and 16 year old have an ipod and they regularly have to buy new headphones, consider that as well, unless you get a docking station.

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answers from Portland on

Hi L.,

I've had an Ipod & Iphone for many years and I love how easy they are. The new Ipod that looks like an Iphone without the phone feature is about $200. You can purchase "apps", mini programs like games, maps, and many other programs for this devise. The song downloads off Itunes is $0.99-1.99/ song.

My phone & Ipod have held up well, but I suggest getting cases for them incase they are dropped. You can get speakers "docking stations" for the Ipod so you don't need to use headphones, and you can set the volume control on the devise.

Over all, I would recommend the Ipad IF your son doesn't lose things. If he tends to lose things, an Ipod is an expensive toy to lose.

R. Magby



answers from Boston on

For a gift, I would do a FAMILY ipod. I put kid music on my ipod and we listen to it either in a dock at home or in the car through the radio. I feel it is too younge to have kids listen to music with headphones. Not good for the ears adn it isoltates them. Ipod is the way to go for an Mp3 player. An Apple store will teach you all that you need to know and what will fit your budget. They come in all sizes and some do extra things other than play music like games and movies. The higher the price the more memory it has.


answers from Seattle on

My (almost) 7 yr old has had an MP3 player for about a year, it was a inexpensive one from Target and it has held up really well. I also bought him a cool pull-over hoodie from Target that comes with headphones in the hood, it is SO neat! He loves it!

I think a boom box would be awesome, especially if he has already had an MP3 player that didn't last long...


answers from New York on

You don't need to spend alot of money. You can buy the ipod shuffle for about $50.00. You can also purchase a speaker to plug it into for about $30.00 at radio shack. My daughter is 2 1/2 and she has my old one and she is fine with it. Loves to hear her music. You can also download music for free. I use limewire. I also have the ipod strapped to the speaker so that it doesn't get lost. You really don't need to buy the more expensive ipods for an 8 year old. The newer ones take videos and you can put pictures on it and so forth. To me for such a young age just get the simpler one. As for the no name ipods you will go through ALOT of batteries. I had one years ago and it is not worth it. By the time you spend all that money on batteries you could have bought the ipod. I never lost the music when the batteries died but it was just a pain to carry extra batteries all the time. The extra speaker does use batteries but they last a long time. I change them about once a month and she listens to it all the time. If you use ITUNES it is on average about $.99 a song. You can purchase ITUNE gift cards. I personally use limewire and its free. Good Luck!!!


answers from New York on

we have an old I pod mini that we share with my son. they are less money I think, and I got my five year old special headphones for kids, not ear buds which may not be good for his little ears, headphones with good ratings that are sized for children. But I have teens who help me learn to download music, do you have a neighbor or niece or nephew to ask?



answers from Kansas City on

I think he's probably old enough for an iPod. I would look into starting him off with the Nano. It's smaller in size, capacity, and price. There is one called an iPod Shuffle, I think it's changed a bit, but you used to not be able to pick your songs, etc. So, although that is the cheapest model, I would definitely check into it before buying b/c part of the allure of the iPod is being able to select your stuff! Also, you can do iTunes gift cards (or suggest it to other family members) so he can get a bunch of music right off the bat. The i-products in general are pretty easy to use. I'm no techie myself and I figured it out fairly easily, so just get one of his friends or his uncle to show you how to do it so you can help him with it if necessary.

They have a variety of docking stations to put the iPod on and play music into the room. They range in price and the cheaper ones really are kind of cheap, but it depends on what you need it for. They also sell combo clock radios/docking stations too. I would probably hold off on one of those until you see how often he uses it. Most kids I know that age are perfectly content listening on their headphones and sharing their headphones with their friend.

oh and I wanted to say, don't do a boom box. They really are outdated and by the time you buy the stack of CDs he'll want you might as well have just bought the iPod. Besides, on iTunes you can buy just one or two songs and not the whole album.



answers from Boston on

I'm not a techi mom either, so here's my advise. A LOT of kids have these things even at 5 and 6 years old. But I think an ipod is pretty expensive and easily lost - especially at that age. However, we tried a couple of the really cheap MP3 players - NOT worth it. They are impossible to figure out and generally run on batteries - and guess what happens when the battery dies - you lose all the music you had downloaded - ugh ! Finally we've found a good compromise - and my 8 year old (7 when she got it) can easily run it - it's I think a Sansa little MP3 player that I got at Christmas time for around $45 on sale at one of the big box stores . I think they also had it at Walmart. I then also found for $5 a little speaker that plugs into it - I think it was either Toys R Us or Radio Shack where I got that - it works great and she doesn't have to have the earplugs in all the time - and when friends are over she can play her music. I have RELENTLESSLY preached to her about the high volume in ear phones damaging her ears and she knows to check the volume level BEFORE she puts the earplugs in her ears. You might as well start learning this techie stuff now because it's not going away. And when he's older - my oldest is now 11 - the schools have things like "ipod day" when they raise money by charging a couple of bucks to use your ipod - so he'll want one when that comes along. So I would vote for the MP3 player over a boom box. I use a laptop to download cds that we have to put on the MP3 player. If you don't have a computer you might want to investigate how you'll download the music though. I'm assuming since you posted here that you have access to a computer so that won't be a problem. Good luck - it's frustrating, but you might as well figure it out now. Oh - one other thing - these things are little. Easily lost . Preach to him the responsibility of not losing it and assign a place in the house where he will plug it in to recharge. Tell him that AS SOON AS HE IS DONE USING IT (or if he is away from the house then as soon as he steps foot in the door) he should put it away in the charger where it belongs. My daughters have had cell phones (for emergencies) and MP3s since the age of 5 and have followed that rule quite dutifully and have never ever lost any of these small gadgets in the last 6 years (which is more than I can say for myself !)



answers from Reno on

My eldest got his first ipod at 12 and his little bro got one at 10. They were simple and easy to use. But, I've pulled three ipods out of the laundry over the last three years and I refuse, FLAT OUT REFUSE, to buy my kids any more ipods/mp3 players. I told my boys they could buy them for themselves with birthday money, preferably when they're in college. They laugh at me, but no one has asked for a shopping trip yet!

If you do get one, please be very, VERY aware of the damage loud music can cause to your son's ears. We all know good songs that are just better louder! The downside to that is that your kid will be in his 30s or 40s and need hearing aids. Granted everyone in his peer group will be just as deaf, but I'm not sure that makes it right.

They can be great fun. If nothing else, it's one more thing to take away when he's a fussy teenager! <wink>

Good luck!



answers from Seattle on

My 8yo has had a refurb iPod ($60) for a few years now. I strongly recommend them over Target/Walmart/whatever MP3 players primarily because if anything goes wrong with them Apple fixes them for free or replaces it with a new one (sans things like flushing them, beating with a hammer, etc), and because they're really very sturdy and long lasting. We have an iPod mini in the house we've had for 9 years and it's still going strong. No, it doesn't have bells and whistles, but it still plays music (all it was designed to do).

Songs typically cost $1 through iTunes OR one can buy the whole CD album for $6-10, OR one can upload songs you already have (just put the CD in your computer and transfer the songs into your ipod). Music can also be shared via a certain number of computers and iPods... so my son, husband, and I aren't buying the same song or album 3x, just once.

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