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iPads for little kids Lock Rss

Hi everyone,

I would love to know everyone's thoughts on this....

I am wondering when people think it is an appropriate age to give a child an iPad? My daughter is 5 and I think it is far too young for her to have one and I do not want to get into the habit of her playing with technology over playing outdoors. The reason this has come up is because they use iPads on a daily basis at her school and they have recommended a number of educational apps that the children can practice with at home to improve their learning. I'm a bit behind with technology but, I understand that this is where the future is heading for our children's education - however, family members of ours gave their 2yo an iPad and every time she wants her parents' attention they shove this device in front of her and stick her in a corner - its their way of "spending time / raising" their child. When my daughter gets bored, she goes outside to play with her pets, climbs trees, and creates things - I don't want her to get bored and play with the iPad all day.

So - what are your thoughts?? Should I embrace the technology but restrict when she can use it - or let her be a kid and wait until she is much older and more responsible??
Well I would never buy a 5 year old their own Ipad but just before Christmas DD1 (just turned 5 on Monday) broke her elbow and wasn't able to do much we decided to buy a family Ipad. I've filled it with educational games and we mainly used it when we had fracture clinic appointments and would sit waiting in the hospital for hours. They do still play it at home but not very often they still prefer playing outside.

Forever, for always and no matter what

we are probably buying something like for that ds1 for his next birthday in may and he will be 14 so that shows our thoughts on it but it will be for school(mostly).Embrace the technology but dont lose sight of the other important things too.

mum of 3 boys aged 11, 13 and 14

I know of a 6 yr old that was given an ipad. Which is all he ever plays with, that or an xbox. 9as a babysitter) He would be on it all day long if he didn't have school to go to. I think that's way way too much. I think that age is okay so long as it is limited, maybe half - one hour a day and they are playing educational games/apps.
I wouldn't buy my 6yr old her own iPad. We have a family one that has educational games for both our girls (6 and 2), but iPad time has to be earned. I'm lucky that they love playing outside.
you know what, at the end of the day I think it is a family's decision on whether or not their child should have an ipad and not really anyone elses business.
Some kids MAY spend a lot of time on their ipad and not much time outside but hey - some kids just aren't outside kids. It does happen. Back when we were kids they were the ones staying inside reading their books instead. I personally would rather see a kid doing something interactive on an ipad than sitting in front of a TV vegeing out.

We have a family ipad and DS plays on it whenever he wants to, also plays in his sandpit, and other outside toys and spends 5 hours a day tearing around a playground at daycare. He also reads books, builds with blocks, draws pictures, paints, So I'm not particularly worried if he wants some down time in front of the ipad after such a full on day. Parents can't be switched on 100% of the time to entertaining their kids there are other things we need to do ie cook dinner etc and an ipad is a godsend for this time.
I think there is a place for iPads and similar technology. It is the way of our society now and our children will have to grow up being tech savvy. I also don't think that a moderated amount of "screen time" is a negative thing BUT like everything, it needs to be balanced. We let our 2.5 year old play with the iPad but we are also strict on the usage and she knows when we say no more, that we mean it. I know a lot of schools use them now from prep or grade 1, so if it is a school requirement to have one, we will get her one but the usage will be closely monitored.

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Guess I'm different then...DS11, DD9, and DD4 all have their own iPads (and have for a few years now). We originally bought them for long haul international flights. Yes there are HEAPS of educational apps out there, we have apps to

Practice Naplan
Tell the time
Count money
Practice weekly spelling words
Learn letters and numbers
They also have game apps and videos/ movies as well.

My DD4 takes great care of her iPad, she has it in a protective bumper. Just because my kids use technology doesn't mean they are constantly attached to it....and yes they still play outside!!!

mummy of two

I think technology like an ipad is the way of the future (and that is not far away) and to not embrace that and allow access is unnecessary.

We have tablets similar to the ipad in our house, and my kids spend most of their time outside playing together. I would not say that I need to "manage" them, since they seem to be doing that fine on their own.

They are all aged under 6.

I think assumptions that kids would be on them all the time, to not be based on anything except for assumptions. My kids have free access to theirs and they certainly don't spend "all day" using them. They also access my laptop.

Whenever I see kids with ipads in public, other people seem to be giving them the evil eye, as though that must be all those kids do, even though they have no idea what the rest of their life, or their home life, is like.

From the special needs perspective, the ipad and similar has provided children with opportunities to communicate and de-stress, that other time periods would not have had available. And as for schools - I have read an article speaking about technology literacy being the new "literacy' so to speak. I will try to find it and link it up here.

I find it funny that parents and educators used to think that books were undesirable and addictive, and that this was a problem, when books first started becoming widely available. (Even though screen time is physically very different to books.)
Personally, I wouldn't buy an ipad for a 5 yr old because a) I don't think they should use them a lot and b) they are expensive and can be broken so easily. I also disagree with them being used in schools at a young age. I disagree with the use of technology being relied on in schools at a young age to the extent its one of reasons I chose to homeschool. I agree with them being exposed to technology and being taught to use it properly - but I want them to learn to rely on themselves first with technology as a bonus.

When we were kids, computers were ENORMOUS and our first had a green and black screen. yet as technology developed, we adapted, Few people had computers, yet most people easily learned how to use them with no exposure in early childhood. once our kids grow up, the technology will be totally different again. things like handwriting and even the way they think is practiced and developed in the young years. I want kids to be able to learn how to do things for themselves without relying on some plastic and electronics to do it for them. I don't care if games are educational - most things are to some extent or can be found to be if you look closely enough. With young kids especially, I believe they need to use their imagination, to play, to problem solve and all of that combined. You do get that to a certain extent with some games but not usually all of those together. Apart from that, I don't think too much screen time is good for very young children. Not necessarily for the content, but also the effect on how it wires the brain.

.....Anyway, thats my essay on why I don't think you should buy one. grin I have no issue with kids using technology - but I think if you believe it should be restricted, they probably aren't old enough to own one.

I also should say that "educational" apps are not the only thing you can use these kinds of devices for. We don't have any apps. The kids use their tablets for looking up tv shows on youtube, watching movies, searching youtube for videos about things they want to learn, surfing the internet, looking at pictures online, searching for maps and looking up places in the world, taking photos and editing them, making films, listening to music.

We recently got rabbits and we looked up "how to care for a lop rabbit", "what do lop rabbits eat?" and other things like that. We also went to the vet and asked a heap of questions, as well an calling someone who cared for rabbits. But all of that info was valuable.

The internet has such a vast array of information, opinion, sources etc. It may not all be useful or true, but it is easy to evaluate it when you read through a lot of it often. As a kid, I found libraries and books very limiting because you only get one patch/area/view of information. The internet has given me and my kids the chance to see topics from multiple angles and viewpoints.

Many things you cannot learn just from exploring outside. That's how you learn essential skills like imagination, creativity, trial and error, collaborative play, resilience etc. But you can't work out what to feed lop rabbits from playing in the mud, you don't know where in the world or where in the universe you live. Potentially for many young children, those questions wouldn't be in their heads yet. But certainly there are plenty of children who are asking questions and trying to learn things that the collaborative knowledge of human kind could help them with. Indigenous cultures don't push knowledge onto kids and had very much a free play based early years style - but they did not hold back kids who wanted more, or different to, that.

And for me (or anyone) to say - "sorry, you can't learn those things yet because I deem that you haven't had enough years with your only play being non-screen", or "no, you are too young to learn those things. Go and play outside again and use your imagination instead" is just doing a disservice to kids IMO. We should trust that our kids will follow their curiosity (especially in the early years and before school age), and if that means using the internet, then IMO we should be allowing them that opportunity.
I totally agree with everything you have said about kids and the internet. We use the internet for exactly the same here. However we just use the computer and all look for it together. My kids can look up stuff when they want to, but I wont buy them a computer each to do so because this works fine. They can take turns to use it if they need to. I agree the internet is great in terms of what you can use it for, but i wouldn't give a kid that age access to it without supervision. I believe using computers to write assignments, projects, calculate, and do presentations in primary school is totally unnecessary and at the expense of other skills that are usually developed at this age.

In regards to age and technology, I don't think any kid under 3 needs screen time. I don't think anyone is talking about holding a kid back or denying them knowledge, more that they don't need their own device at that age to access it. smile
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