Children and tablet computers

On Twitter, just before Bunny’s 6th Birthday, I asked whether I should get Bunny a Leap Pad 2 or an Innotab 2. They are childrens tablet computers. I was advised that Bunny was too old for these, despite the age recommendations on the packaging.

I wanted her to have something she could learn on. She’s a bright child who enjoys learning and I wanted to nurture this.

The question sparked quite a debate as a number of people told me that they have given their three or four year old’s ipad’s or tablet computers! Seriously? My daughter never looks after her things. Toys are always either lost or broken. She is even more untidy than me and never plays on the Wii or her children’s laptop.

I was astounded that people bought such expensive products for such young children. And I feared there must be many a security concern with the internet, as well as, “what if they press the wrong button?”.

However, after weeks of looking, it turned out, that many of the options around, seemed “too young” for Bunny, or cost an arm and a leg. Many products were suggested, but we were on a budget. In the end, I came around to a different way of thinking… the only thing I could afford was a tablet! At £90 I bought one, and a pink shell case to go with it. It wasn’t as big or as fast, or as easy to use as our tablet, and I still had concerns about her age.

We installed “Kid mode“, but I have to say, Kid mode is rubbish. There are occasions of her calling out “I’ve pressed the wrong button” or “it’s done something weird”, even in Kid mode. I won’t let her use it for more than twenty minutes at a time in the car, as I don’t want to encourage travel sickness (any activity that causes someone to look down in the car, causes travel sickness). But she does use it at home. She plays games and music, but I’d love to have some learning apps on there for her.

I still think the world has gone slightly mad, and us with it. We do limit her use (and now it won’t charge so that didn’t last long!).

What do you think? Has the world gone technology mad? Should we be giving tablet computers to our 6 year olds?

And for those of you that have – can you recommend any great learning apps?

  1. JodiGibson (@JFGibsonWriter) says:

    It’s taken me a while to come around but really, kids will just get left behind if we don’t give them access to the technology of today and frankly so will we. I think as long as we are responsible as parents and teach them how to respect and use it with regards to time spent and safety then I think it’s okay.
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  2. Mummy Glitzer says:

    We let Harry (3 years old) use an old smart phone (no sim) to play apps etc via the WiFi. I guess as it is old it isn’t so much an issue really and he is monitored. I truly believe it has been really beneficial.
    Mummy Glitzer recently posted..One Week OnMy Profile

  3. Corrine Shimmon says:

    I have a foot in both camps really. My eldest two are turning five and seven this month, and both play a lot on their (original) leappads- to such an extent that I bought them a load of new games this week. They also use an old iPad of ours however. I think it’s a question of balancing their learning needs at an age appropriate level with their desire and need to learn what will become essential technology.

  4. Candace says:

    My pair had ipad mini’s (and basic phones) 6 months ago for their b’days and this upcoming Christmas. They go to bed, have them for 15 mins in bed then they come to me and don’t have them back until after school and homework done next day. They are 10 & 11. Need to let them have access as they use it so much for homework even at their ages. All about restricting what they use it for and how long.

    PS. I don’t have an ipad or tablet!

  5. BakedPotato Mummy says:

    I’m ashamed to admit, I’m one of those mummies that lets their kids use tech very early. Potato is almost 16 months and he’s allowed to play with my iPad, supervised of course, for very limited periods. I tend to allow about 15/20 mins at a time and not every day. I get very irritated with my Mum who lets him play with hers a lot more often and he’s got to the point where he demands it whenever he sees it
    I’ve researched and downloaded toddler friendly apps to play with and primarly use these. He obviously doesn’t surf the net or anything else like that. I’ve found it invaluable when we are flying, which we do quite a lot.
    I certainly don’t think he should have his own tablet for a long time yet, and I do not allow it as a ‘babysitter’. But I have made the decision that with modern technology the way it is, it’s a case of keep up or be left behind. I know not everybody will agree with this, but we all find our own ways in these things x
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  6. Rachael (Mushroomsmum) says:

    I’m torn on this one! I was just talking about it the other day with a dad I met in the park, who was saying that his son knows how to use both an ipad and regular pc at the age of 3 and asked whether Mushroom did. Well, Mushroom plays with a couple of games in kid mode including the cbeebies app on my phone on occasion and Mr B lets him play with his Kindle (for short periods, under supervision) but I don’t know how I feel about this. I would like to limit his screen time at this young age (he already watched too much tv for my liking) but like others have said, I don’t want him to get left behind… It’s a tricky one. The comments are making me think about getting him a Leappad for Christmas though!
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  7. Nikki says:

    Hi, my son got an iPad mini when he was 5 and a half, we had had all of the kid versions and just did not cut it, the iPad has a restriction lock so nothing can be accessed that you don’t want them too, no purchases no Internet no App Store without a code. I feel it’s taught him a sense of responsibility, he does take care of it he knows exactly how much they cost and he knows he is a lucky boy to have one! The variety of apps both paid and unpaid is gear, he has maths and spelling apps as well as angry birds and fruit ninja.

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