The Guardian: Are iPads and tablets bad for young children?
Kaufman strongly believes it is wrong to presume the same evils of tablets as televisions. “When scientists and paediatrician advocacy groups have talked about the danger of screen time for kids, they are lumping together all types of screen use. But most of the research is on TV. It seems misguided to assume that iPad apps are going to have the same effect. It all depends what you are using it for.”
It all depends what you are using it for. I can’t think of a better answer to any question about whether a technology is good or bad. Kids spending time staring at an iPad watching a movie probably isn’t giving them much benefit apart from some down time to have a break, but sitting with your child playing games or reading stories on the iPad has many great benefits.
As a parent, I sometimes find this unsettling. But I try to be mindful that it is an open question whether it is unsettling because there is something wrong with it, or because it wasn’t a feature of my own childhood.
We’re often unaware of how strongly we are biased towards the way we were brought up. People who grew up in a family with two children generally want to have two children themselves. People who grew up on a farm think its important for their kids to get experience on a farm etc. Even when you’re aware of that, it’s easy to forget it works the other way too – you may view certain activities as undesirable for your children purely because you didn’t do them in your childhood.
So what should a parent who fears their child’s proficiency on a tablet do? … “You need to acquire proficiency,” she says. “You can acquire it from them. They can teach you.”
This is probably the best advice in the entire article. Don’t be afraid of doing things with your child just because you aren’t familiar with them or confident in how to do them. Discovering new things together or having your child teach you something is one of the best ways for you both to learn and grow as people.
Finally, regarding the case of a four year old who was supposedly addicted to iPad use:
that “case”, so eagerly taken up by the tabloids, comprised a single informal phone call with a parent, in which <the doctor> gave advice. There was no followup treatment. He doesn’t believe that “addiction” is a suitable word to use of such young children.
So don’t believe everything you hear in the media…