Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Toddlers and iPads - Is it OK?

For Mother’s Day, I received a new iPad. I am a very lucky mama, and not because I received an iPad (though, I can't say I wasn't super excited)!

[caption id="attachment_562" align="aligncenter" width="300"] image source: www.apple.com[/caption]

I should not have been surprised when Little J asked to ‘play with the new phone’. It is very similar to my phone, which he knows has Angry Birds on it. I don’t like to use the phone to entertain him, but there have been times where I let him use it (i.e. restaurants, airports, etc.). My husband instantly downloaded a few apps to the new iPad, including one that Little J can play. I have mixed feelings about sharing my new device, and not just because I don’t want grubby fingers on my beautiful, clean, new screen. iGame mom has posted about child-proofing your iPad, her very helpful article is here .

But more than that, I consider it ‘screen time’ and wonder if it affects his developing brain in a negative way. A variety of research has suggested that the more screen time a child experiences early on (in the formative first three years of life), the more likely they are to develop attention issues. A recent Wall Street Journal article discusses whether or not an iPad is different. It clearly engages a toddler’s attention, more than a TV would. Does that mean it is better for them, and they can learn from the educational apps? Or does it mean an iPad is worse- because it demands their attention?

I am sure the answer is that it is a mix of both good and bad. “Everything in moderation” As long as Little J is not engaged in screen time for hours and hours each day, regardless of what kind, I’m sure he’ll be just fine. Yesterday, we spent an hour in the backyard splashing in our water table and digging in the sandbox. Then, we took a bath to wash all of that off! After Mayhem went to bed, we stamped sugar cookies with Lightning McQueen and Mater from Disney Cars. But no TV or iPad!

I do know that for our family, the iPad means FaceTime with Grandma and Grandpa, or Auntie Kim and Uncle John. That means it is a very valuable piece of technology for us, since they are across the country! Do you let your kids use your phone/computer/iPad? Do you worry about how it affects them?


  1. Thanks for mentioning! I agree "everything in moderation".

  2. Thanks- it gets harder and harder! Thanks for your posts on educational apps too- very helpful!

  3. My one year old uses a few apps once in awhile. He has three book apps (Freight Train, It's a Small World, and Curious George), three language apps (all French), a Sesame Street app, and a few numbers apps.

    I agree with your moderation comment. He uses the IPAD maybe 3 times a week and he can only use it for 5 minutes. So, he typically can read a couple of books or look through some French flash cards or play a number game.

    When I turn it off, sometimes he looks up at me, as if to say, "Really? I'm using this." Other times, he jumps off of my lap and plays with whatever is on the floor.

  4. My son is not quite old enough yet to really play with my iPad or phone but I am a teacher and we are starting to use iPads in the classroom. In our district pretty soon every student will have an iPad with their books downloaded onto their pad. At the elementary level we are currently using them for educational purposes with games. There are a lot of great educational apps out there with great games for learning time, math, reading, and spelling. And some of them are really great!
    Everything in moderation, but I think if your son is already familiar with this technology it could be a great thing for him.

  5. It's great to hear from a teacher! Thank you for reading!

  6. It's great that you are using it as a learning tool, but not letting him get addicted! Thank you for sharing!