Children these days know technology like no other. Just give a toddler a phone or tablet and, somehow, they know how to work their way around it effortlessly. This has its pros and cons, and that’s another article altogether!
The question is, however, should we buy children Kindles, iPads and other tablets?
All for it
Like anything, if used wisely tablets can be very advantageous. There are a plethora of apps for iPads and Android apps that can reinforce learning. If your child is struggling with reading or maths, for example, they can benefit (and enjoy) reading apps and apps for maths (at the different key stages) that will help them improve no end.
Kindles, Nooks and Kobo e-readers (available from WH Smith) are built for reading. You can buy a plethora of books for your child and know that they want be distracted by games and the internet on these e-readers the way they can be on a tablet.
Geek School, a maths and English tutoring service fully support the use of e-readers and tablets in this way: “The likes of Kobos and Kindles can be great for children in year 2 and above, who are more established and confident readers. They have the benefit of an inbuilt dictionary, which children can use by tapping on an unfamiliar word and getting the meaning instantly. This is a great way for children to expand their vocabulary and improve their reading skills. ”
If only tablets only had educational apps, there would be no issue with children using them. But if you’re a parent in the know, you’ll have seen that gaming apps dominate many family iPads.
“Without sounding like a party pooper, it’s important to know that these apps can draw children in so much to the point of addiction,” says Geek School’s founder – our very own Joycellyn Akuffo.
“Playing the odd game a couple of times a week (ideally at weekends) for no more than half an hour won’t do much harm. But if it’s a struggle to draw your child away from the games then they may be showing signs of addictive behaviour to the games and drastic action is required!”
Excessive use of tablets can have other repercussions. A recent study found that some children who used iPads for extended periods found it difficult to hold a pencil, and therefore write.
IPads are also too expensive a purchase for children. If your sole purpose is to improve reading, you can buy a Kobo Mini from upwards of £30. It’s a good small size that will be easy for your child to hold and handle. An iPad on the other hand costs anything from around £350, so it’s a very expensive ‘toy’. You could always hand down a tablet if you upgrade to a newer model, instead of making an outright purchase for your child.
So it’s clear that Kindles, Nooks iPads and other tablets can be beneficial to your child’s learning and development, when used wisely. The purchasing decision is yours!