When and why to buy tablets for your kids?
Did you know that 75% of kids under the age of 9 already use mobile devices in the US? According to commonsensemedia.org smartphones are still on top, but in two years the number of children with tablets increased 32%. It’s a growing tendency and not only in the United States. Then many parents are facing the question: “Should I buy a tablet to my kids?”
Parents already concerned with the amount of time their kids spend in front of the TV will think twice before inserting a new screen at home. That became a matter of great discussion, but with technology getting more and more into our lives it is best to know it and how to use it well. With the right control, a tablet can be a great entertainment and education tool for your children, in some ways better than books and TV, as it demands interaction from the user.
Great kids apps must balance entertainment with learning. When kids are engaged, they learn. Technology for education is a subject you’ll certainly hear a lot about. There are already many schools using tablets in class and there are an increasing number of applications with educational purposes, be them implicit or explicit (1). Here are some tips: look for games that are developmentally appropriate for your children, check if the content is meaningful and provide a good experience with a lesson you would give, and play with them, kids learn more when parents join their experiences (and that’s not only for tablets).
Experts say parents should wait until preschool to handle their kids any electronic device because toddlers learn best with the real world (2), but there are also reports of good experiences introducing tablets to kids under three, managing the time they spend on it, and they can learn very fast. Our conclusion is: tablets are great educational and entertainment tools, but just like the TV you can’t buy your kids one and forget about it. Independently of age, it needs supervision and it’s parents responsibility to make sure their children are playing with the right apps and having enough time learning and playing outside the virtual world.
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