Should Young Children Be Using iPads?
When iPads first came out, everyone was shaking their heads and dismissing it as a totally ridiculous idea, after all, isn’t it just a big phone? Nowadays you’ll struggle to find a household without an iPad or alternative named tablet, and we’re all wondering what we did without them.
iPads have revolutionised technology, from the way we watch films, to the way we play games, how we read, and how we travel, and remembering a time before these large lumps of plastic is really quite difficult to do. Having said all this, an iPad is at the end of the day a piece of technological equipment, and in an age where we’re trying to go back in time and encourage our children to get out and play in the fresh air, should we be encouraging the use of iPads for young children?
There is no real solid answer to this question, because it’s all a case of perspective and how much you allow your child to use it, and indeed, what you allow them to use it for.
There is no denying that there is a real educational benefit to allowing your child to play games on an iPad, with countless apps available to help develop important skills, such as reading, recognising colours, shapes, counting, learning the alphabet, and even more complex maths puzzles, but where do you draw the line?
From the get-go, you need to give boundaries to the iPad’s usage, e.g. you need to introduce it to your child as something they can learn from, not something they use simply for entertainment purposes. Of course, letting them watch a film on it whilst you’re travelling is perfectly fine, but don’t use it as something to give them when they’re being grizzly and won’t settle, simply to shut them up, much like the sitting down in front of the TV routine that used to happen years ago. Maybe set a time limit for use, and play together using educational apps, so it is seen as fun and a learning tool, rather than something to simply waste away the time on, or something to keep them quiet.
Some schools are even incorporating the use of iPads into certain lessons, and there has been much research and thought gone into how using an iPad can benefit a child’s development. Like anything technological in the world, it’s a case of recognising the pros and cons, and every piece of equipment such as this can be used in the wrong way.
So in answer to the question, should young children be using iPads? Well, in moderation, yes, iPads certainly have a very strong place in helping a child develop and grow.