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Kids + iPads = Good + Bad
Posted 33 months ago on 12/18/2017
Take Away:

This article discusses the pros and cons of letting kids have iPad tablets.


There aren’t too many households nowadays that don’t have at least one iPad or other brand of tablet. The tablet, iPad specifically, seems to be a household fixture that kids grow up with today...much like dolls and board games were decades ago. How times have changed! When I was growing up in the early 1970s, the “in thing” was Atari Pong. This was electronic table tennis where two players used paddles to hit a square shaped ping pong ball back and forth to one another. It was primitive by today’s standards to be sure, but back then Atari Pong was cutting edge technology.

We actually have three iPads in our house. The first was purchased brand new at full retail, while the last two we got an incredible deal on. A family friend who teaches at a parochial school sold them to us used, but otherwise working perfectly for only 200 USD, believe it or not. So no one at our house has to fight with anyone else to get on an iPad – they are readily available, not to mention several other iPods and laptop PCs.

The iPad, in my opinion, has both pros and cons for kids. The benefits are websites and games that challenge and develop children’s cognitive abilities. Scholastic’s website has excellent books and games to help kids develop their minds. The Minecraft game is another good example of something that helps kids grow their abilities. My 9 year old son Aaron plays Minecraft all the time on the iPad and he has created some incredible things on it! My 11-1/2 year old daughter Ilana uses the Scratch coding website from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) to create programs that make animated characters perform simple tasks. Scratch is a visual programming language that makes it easy for young kids to learn to basic software coding.

For all the learning and developmental benefits of the iPad, there are also drawbacks. Kids can become notoriously addicted to these tablets. Like any home, there have been many, many instances where the kids need to put away the iPads to get ready for bed or leave the house to go somewhere and it just becomes a titanic struggle. If they don’t melt down and chuck the iPads across the room in anger, they will procrastinate putting them away as many of you parents are well aware of. I will typically hear something like “Daddy I just need one more minute to finish up…”. The only problem is I keep hearing this line every 5 minutes for the next half hour or more! Though my son Aaron tends to go to sleep without the iPad, his sister Ilana tends not to. There have been many times when Ilana falls asleep with the iPad still playing and then I have to go into her room at 11:00 or 11:30 at night to power it off. Because the tablet keeps her up later, it becomes a real battle the next morning to get her up and moving for school. Out of sheer frustration, I have told my wife it was a mistake to get them their own iPads because of the addiction they create!

They are actually very responsible kids, despite the addiction issues with the iPads. The kids know they aren’t supposed to go on inappropriate websites or chat with strangers and the like and they never do. We have good trust with Aaron and Ilana and we don’t worry they will stray from age and content appropriate sites. Many parents can’t say that, unfortunately.

When I was growing up in the 1970s, I had the “Funk & Wagnalls” standard encyclopedia set. It was a good encyclopedia and I learned much from it, but it would never be able to compete with the vast storehouse of knowledge from the iPad. For this reason, I believe the benefits of the iPad far outweigh the addictive downside it creates. What do you think?



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