Thursday, May 16, 2013

Children Using iPads

Baby In Pram With iPad
I think iPads are wonderful for children but I disagree with parents using the iPad as a convenient babysitter for the kids.

There are many excellent educational and learning apps available for children. They are interactive, fun and kids can really learn a thing or two from them very quickly.

However, I think that kids should only be allowed to use the iPad with supervision (at first), next they should also be old enough to understand the benefits and disadvantages and these pros and cons of using the iPad should be explained to them.

Ground rules should be set and in-app purchases should be restricted or disabled. Remember the Smurfberry case where an 8 year old innocently racked up $1,400 in in-app purchases on her mom's iPad?

It is easy to confuse between real money purchases and pretend buying on the iPad game. Do you teach your children the difference?

I found these Top 10 Ground Rules For Child iPad Usage by Kevin D. Jones a very good read and an excellent suggestion. I like rule No. 1 "Work Before Play" and Rule No. 4 "Mandatory iPad Break". I would also like to add rule No. 11. "No playing with the iPad during mealtimes, at home or worse still at the restaurant when you are dining out." Go to the link to read the full article. Kevin also shares How To Disable in-app Purchases On Your iPad.

My kids were first introduced to the iPad at age 8 and 10. They are not allowed to make any in-app purchases. Work always comes before play and play is for short spurts of time only. When mom says "it is time to stop playing" they have to stop or else they will not be allowed to play with it again the next time. The iPad belongs to mom and not the kids. They get to borrow it for short periods of time when they are free.

We use the iPad not only for play but for studies frequently so that they understand that iPad is not only for games alone. We use a lot of google image search when they are studying, we watch videos from YouTube to support their studies, we use the dictionary, the calculator, the Train Chinese app for learning Chinese and many other non-game related use.

We do not take the ipad out of the house and no playing at the dining table is allowed. I absolutely abhor the sight of kids playing with the iPad at restaurants and worse still babies in prams with the iPad locked on by some sort of clip thingy so they can lie down and stare at the screen.

What sort of ground rules do you set for your kids for playing the iPad?

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