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Should You Buy a Dinosaur Robot Toy for Your Child?

written by: Kristina Dems•edited by: Linda Richter•updated: 3/19/2011

A dinosaur robot toy is very cool to look at, and with most of them having advanced artificial intelligence, they're very cool to interact with, too. Not all of them are appropriate for all children, though.

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    A dinosaur robot toy is pretty much very similar to other animal robot toys such as robot dogs and robot cats. However, some of them do have certain features that may inspire fear or even nightmares in children. If you are thinking whether you should buy one of these toys for your child, you need to consider some of the facts about these toys. Let us start with the most interesting feature of most of these toys, which is their ability to show emotion and display realistic behavior.

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    Artificial Intelligence

    Some dinosaur robot toys have very advanced artificial intelligence programs that drive them to respond favorably to commands and

    Pleo also to act aggressively and predator-like. Others rely on this artificial intelligence to develop an artificial personality and behavior that resemble that of virtual pets.

    Dinosaur robot pets like the Pleo ($380 on Amazon) start as a newly hatched baby dinosaur that displays behavior similar to real young creatures. They feel hunger and fatigue and they also do realistic tasks like grazing, exploring and even napping. The Pleo is capable of feeling happy, sad, playful, scared and surprised. This range of emotions is quite similar to a real living pet. It does not, however, show aggressive behavior that is possible in real dogs or cats, so it is perfectly safe for all ages.

    Other dinosaur robot pets, however, use artificial intelligence to imitate aggressive behavior. The D-Rex is capable of obeying its owner's commands, but it is also possible for it to act aggressively and not follow command depending on its virtual mood.

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    D-REX Interactive Dinosaur The Pleo is an example of a toy that imitates real animal movement, but only the non-threatening actions. It can use its body to express its mood but it does not involve movements that may scare children. The D-Rex Interactive Dinosaur ($90 on Amazon) and the Roboraptor, however, have the ability to show possibly scary behavior like disobeying commands and having a predatory gait. The Roboraptor's predatory movements in addition to its mean-looking design may look cool for more mature children, but for younger ones, it can be downright scary.

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    Threat Levels

    WowWee Roboraptor Robotic Dinosaur Physically, the D-Rex Interactive Dinosaur and the Roboraptor Robotic Dinosaur ($110 on Amazon) do not really pose a threat to anyone. They may display aggressive behavior and threatening looks, but they can't really hurt anyone seriously. The threat level posed by these toys, at worst, is to cause fear in children. To prevent this from happening, toys that are considered tamer like the Pleo are more appropriate.

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    Choosing whether to get a dinosaur robot toy for your child or not entirely depends on your understanding of both your child and the range of toys out there. Some of those toys are not appropriate for very young children while some are perfectly fine for all ages. The age of your child is a strong indication of the type of dinosaur robot toy you should get him or her. It is not a question of whether you should buy one for your child or not. The important consideration here is what kind of dinosaur robot toy is appropriate for your child. Fortunately, toys are always marked for the age that is appropriate for them.

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    References and Image Credits