The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that children under 2 should avoid television completely and older kids limit screen time to one or two hours per day. Studies have shown that excessive screen time can lead to attention problems later on. What about the iPad? This is a much more interactive device than a television. Should we let kids play with it? Many parents are exposing their kids to the iPad from a very young age. Is that a good idea?
We don’t have an iPad and I hadn’t considered getting one for Baby RB40. That is, until we played with one at the library. We had a lot of fun playing with apps like Toca Robot Lab and reading interactive books. Baby RB40 learned how to turn the pages and enjoyed making the animals move in Barnyard Dance.
The first few times, Baby RB40 was fascinated with the iPad and he didn’t want to leave even after playing with it for over an hour. He likes it because there are many apps to explore and he can interact with the iPad via the touch screen. Previously, the only interaction he had with a computer had been watching videos on YouTube. An iPad is much more fun and I thought, maybe I should get one…
Let’s go over the pros and cons of getting an iPad for Baby RB40
- It will keep him quiet and occupied for a while. From what I read, an iPad is like a magic wand that will calm kids down and let you have a little quiet time. This would be very useful if you’re flying across the country or if you want to have a peaceful dinner in a restaurant. Actually, Baby RB40 is very good at restaurants. He’ll eat anything and usually doesn’t cause too much problems. He actually gets a lot of compliments. Once he’s done eating though, he’ll want to get out of there ASAP.
- We can use the iPad as a learning tool. There are a ton of educational apps to help a kid learn mathematics and how to spell. They can learn about planets, states, animals, dinosaurs, money and much more.
- Apps are cheap at only a few dollars each. You can’t even buy a toy Triceratops for that much.
- Baby RB40 can get a technological head start with an iPad. The future will be full of cool technological devices and the earlier you start, the better off you’ll be.
- The iPad is too new and there are has not been any long term research done on it yet. I don’t really want Baby RB40 to be a guinea pig in this experiment. It’s probably fine, but…what happens if the iPad eventually turns your brain to pea soup?
- Babies and toddlers need to learn about the world through touching and seeing physical things. Sure, he touched a piece of dog poop once, but he learned and hasn’t done it since. I’d rather have him play with physical toys and learn how things work in real life than tapping away at a touch screen.
- A new iPad cost $499. That’s quite an expensive toy for a kid. Baby RB40 is pretty hard on his toys and I don’t know if an iPad will endure his abuses. The apps might be pretty cheap at a few dollars each, but I’m sure they add up quickly.
- This is just my personal bias, but I think kids can use their imagination more effectively with physical toys. With an app, you need to follow certain path to accomplish a goal and forward progress is limited by the programmer’s imagination. When kids play with physical toys, you never know what they are going to come up with.
- If we get one, we would have to come up with a whole set of rules on how and when to use it. Should we limit it to 1 hour per day or just let him go wild on it? It’s easier to just not buy it.
The iPad is a great piece to technology, but I think we can wait a few years before getting one for Baby RB40. It’s cool to learn how to use technology at such a young age, but tapping a touch screen isn’t exactly rocket science. He can learn how to use a touch screen later.
For now, I think he can play with the library’s iPad once in a while and that should be enough. At his age, I’m sure it’s better to interact with real people and real objects. Learning to read the old fashioned way is just fine with me. We spend a lot of time reading books and we both enjoy it.
What about you? Do you let your kid play with an iPad? If you do, what are your guidelines if any?
Baby RB40 recommends H is for Halloween. It’s a great book that taught him to say F is for Frankenstein. 😉
Disclosure: Baby RB40 will get a very small commission toward his college saving if you buy anything from Amazon via the links on this page.