Buying a Digital Camera for Kids

The age of your child is one of the most important factors when deciding what type of digital camera to purchase. A three year old toddler trying to be "just like mommy" and a fifteen year old computer-savvy teen will not need the same camera. Your child's interest in photography and digital camera needs will change over the years as they grow and mature. Consider how your child will use a digital camera in the various stages of her life to make an age-appropriate purchase that will spark her creativity and imagination.

Preschoolers

Most preschoolers become fascinated with cameras when they find themselves the main subject of almost every picture taken by parents and grandparents. Young children enjoy copying or mimicking the activities of adults, and using a digital camera is no exception to this phenomenon.

When selecting a digital camera for preschoolers, consider features that are essential for small photographers. Make sure the camera is easy for the child to hold with both hands. The viewing screen should be large enough for the child to view her intended subject and review her shots. The camera should be very simple to use and function primarily on the "auto" setting.

Several toy companies manufacture digital cameras designed for very young children. The cameras are designed to be child-proof and withstand drops and falls. The reviews are mixed regarding the quality of the images and many parents and children have expressed disappointment in the image results. Depending on your child's interest in photography and fine motor skills, you may want to explore camera options that provide better image quality. If they idea of handing over a "real" camera to your three year old makes you cringe, consider buying a used camera in good condition from a garage sale or online auction site.

Elementary Aged Children

Children in the elementary years are still interested in what the grownups do, but they are also developing independence and their own unique interests and style. Children this age enjoy using digital cameras to capture shots of family vacations, friends, family members and general silliness. Many older elementary children will also be proficient at using the computer and will want to learn how to upload pictures and use editing software.

Elementary aged children are ready for a more sophisticated camera than their preschool aged counterparts. Many children will want to experiment with different features and settings including black and white, action mode, night mode, zoom and video clips. The camera should be easy for the child to hold and selecting features should be simple to execute. Parents will find numerous introductory and budget-friendly camera models to introduce their school aged children to the world of digital photography.

Teens

Most teens have developed a love affair with gadgets and electronics. Teenagers have wish lists filled with cell phones, MP3 players, video games, computers and cameras. For most teens, digital cameras have been elevated to a necessity in today's web based culture. Social networking sites are the center of a teen's social life where taking, posting and commenting on photos is a favorite activity. Although most teens owned a digital camera earlier in their youth, they are eager to try digital cameras with more advanced features.

One of the most important features to consider for a teen's digital cameras is portability. Teens want the ability to slip the camera into a pocket or toss it into a purse, backpack or bag. Advanced features including touch screens, video capabilities, and in camera editing are popular with teens. If your teen has a desire to pursue photography as a hobby or potential career, consider purchasing a budget-friendly DSLR or super-zoom digital camera that will allow her to learn the basics of photography by adjusting ISO, white balance and aperture settings.

Popular P&S Cameras for High Quality Photos: