These days, it is in vogue for members of the tech community to worry about the effects of technology on their kids. They are concerned about the following issues:
- Too much screen time
- The long term effects of backlit screens on young eyes
- The effect of screens on sleep
- The deleterious effects on handwriting and spelling
- Physical fitness
It is not to say that these are not real concerns. But they are not new to this age. Parents have been obsessing over the effects of modern tech on their kids since the Stone Age. Every new tech has been feared by parents since the invention of kids. What history has taught us is that parents worry way too much about things that don’t matter.
Yes, it is true that technology will have an effect on your kids. They will not grow up with the same set of skills and values you have, just as your skills and values differ from your parents. But that does not mean that your kids will grow up to be mutants. They must be allowed to evolve so that they can inherit a changing world. Tablets are just a part of that progression. You have heard all the fears of technology. Now it’s time you hear why your kid should have a tablet of her very own:
She Needs Her Own TV
Are we really going to continue pretending that TV is just a pacifier for idiots just because some Luddite called it an “idiot box” fifty years ago? That is complete and utter nonsense. And you should distance yourself from the people who think like that.
Besides the obvious things like entertainment and education, TV provides the most universal access to social context we have. Punishing a child by taking away TV is like punishing a child by taking away books, or school, or physical exercise. Cutting a child off from cultural context leaves them at a disadvantage they will find hard to overcome later in life. They will not only be left out of the water-cooler conversation, but other, more important conversations, all because they do not have a common cultural context shared by their peers.
Just bear in mind that finding the right internet bundle is an important part of the equation. You need to make sure that your TV service provider offers mobile access to programming. Otherwise, a tablet will not work as a TV. Most content distributors like DIRECTV have an app that provides access on mobile devices.
He Needs a Bigger Canvas For Apps and Creativity
Even large smartphones are insufficient for the kinds of apps that kids need to get the most out of this age. No one buys a 5″ TV set. In the same way, no one would send their kid to school with a 5″ notebook. Getting a tablet the size of a three-ring binder may not be practical. But an 8″ – 10″ tablet makes a lot of sense.
Educational apps like Wolfram Alpha need room to breathe. You are not going to learn a lot about astronomy by looking at one star on screen at a time. The bigger the canvas, the better. Speaking of a canvas. Creative endeavors like sketching and painting need a lot more space than any smartphone can provide. If your kid is ready for apps and creativity, they are ready for a tablet.
The Technology Is Ready for Your Kids
It is not just that your kids are ready for the technology. The technology is also ready for your kids. As a parent, you have far more parental control over what your kids watch on a tablet than you will ever have on a TV. There are even apps that let you keep up with who your kids are chatting with, and what they are saying.
Beyond the standard parental controls, Apple has enabled ad-blocking apps. The biggest online danger to your kids is not porn, but unfettered access to your kids currently enjoyed by advertisers. iOS ad blockers go a long way toward curbing that access.
Your kid needs a tablet because she needs her own, parentally controlled TV, a bigger canvas for apps and creative endeavors, and a device platform that is ready for what comes next.