Most children these days are fortunate enough to be able to get in touch with technology early, especially tablets and smartphones, and it’s quite a common sight to see toddlers having a go on their parent’s smartphones! If you are observant enough, you will notice that your child will be keen to do what you do and play with any gadget they can get their hands on. We definitely know how much a tablet can add to an adult’s life, but if you are thinking if you should get one and whether they are really suitable for children – here are some of the benefits and drawbacks to check out!
The Benefits of Buying Tablet Computers for Children
At the ages between three and five, specially designed kids tablets (like the Leapfrog LeapPad series as shown above) are made to be very durable, and incorporate large buttons for small hands. These devices focus on the beginning stages of learning with games for shapes, numbers, and letters and the learning materials can be expanded on.
As a child grows, he or she will be ready for the same tablets that adults use (e.g. an iPad). You may want to pick one with Internet browsing protection, plus a shutoff timer to prevent your child from sitting for hours using this device. That way, your child can benefit from learning games and reading digital books, but without spending entire days glued to the screen – bad for the eyes and may even disrupt their sleep at night.
All study and no playtime does not allow your child to be well-rounded in this life. Your child needs to have that flexible time to enjoy entertaining games. And of course, pretty much any child would love to have a tablet computer to play on!
There is nothing wrong with having some time for fun, which you still have the authority to control. And these games can really come in handy when your child is waiting for you at an appointment that is taking longer than expected, or on long car rides. The key is not to always rely (as a parent) on the tablet to entertain your child though it seems to be the easiest way out.
As your child develops, they will need more access to technology from which to research their school assignments. You may have one computer in the house that you need for your work, making it unavailable to your child.
As schools are demanding more use of technology from your child, there needs to be the freedom of information available. As parents, some of us may feel this is wrong, but it is something we can’t change and need to be flexible with.
It’s important to weigh up all the pros and cons, and only you can decide at which age it will be appropriate for a child to own a tablet of their own. And remember, you don’t necessarily need to spend a lot on a tablet.
The Drawbacks of Buying Tablet Computers for Children
While the potential benefits to your child’s mental growth are many, there are also multiple drawbacks of buying tablet computers for kids and teens. Depending on the age of your children, they may treat the versatile and powerful minicomputer in their hands in a rough-and-tumble manner. And for parents of multiple children, the idea of spending several hundred dollars each (an iPad does not really come cheap) to purchase their children their own tablet PCs is daunting by itself, especially if the devices will be mistreated.
One of the most concerning drawbacks of buying tablet computers for children concerns how the child will use the device. Though a parent may have the best of intentions, without strict monitoring the powerful computer may simply turn into an all-day movie or music player. To address those concerns, some tablet manufacturers have included child monitoring applications and software, which allow you to set limits on the content your child accesses, as well as limiting exactly how long they can spend enjoying different activities such as web surfing and viewing videos.
And in a day and age where child obesity is rampant, many parents may think twice before supplying their children with yet another mobile PC which might contribute to less exercise and poor physical fitness. There are of course multiple fitness applications and games your child can interact with which are available for download to the most popular tablet computers, but will your child use them?
Another major drawback which parents run up against when they are shopping for tablet computers for their tween, teen and college aged children concerns features. A shopping parent has to compare screen size, resolution, processing power, RAM memory and a ton of other features, to make sure they are purchasing the right product for their child’s end-use. With literally hundreds of tablet PCs (e.g. iOS, Android or even Windows Operating System) to choose from, this can be difficult for even a tech savvy parent.
And of course there is the child’s short attention span which must be taken into account. Today’s kids demand instant gratification, and while a tablet PC may be a well-received gift when presented, it may simply end up battling for your child’s attention along with his smartphone, laptop, handheld gaming devices and other well intended gifts and toys.
Parents wanting the best for their kids need to thoroughly consider the benefits as well as drawbacks of buying tablet computers for children. Cost and content accessibility are among the primary concerns, and rightfully so. You should also consider whether your child is old enough to properly care for a tablet PC. And don’t forget that your best intentions may simply see a tablet computer collecting dust and unused shortly after purchase. As long as you bear these factors in mind, you may be able to leapfrog the many drawbacks of a tablet PC purchase for children and teens, and score the perfect gift.