iPad use for toddlers and beyond
IPad and IPhones have become ubiquitous. Wandering around any Mall in Malaysia you will see adults playing on them at the table, checking Facebook pages, answering emails and people navigating with them in their cars. Worst of all you will see children my daughters age sitting at the table, playing whilst their parents have dinner at the same table.
I am a self confessed techno enthusiast. I love my iPad. My husband not so jokingly refers to it as my "second" husband and I suspect is a little jealous of the time that I dedicate to. I could wax lyrical about my favourite gadget for hours.
However I too have become concerned with my usage of the device and its all encompassing nature. I can see my Facebook, my emails, surf the web, write my hubs on there. I use it when I watch TV and I miss important plot points. I use it when I am talking and I lose the thread of my thoughts. These are the definite dangers of the device
As I spend so much time on the iPad, my daughter has become fascinated. She wants to use "Mummies" iPad. Before we had our daughter I was determined not to let her watch TV before she was 2. We largely succeeded. She is still not interested in the TV. She is however enamoured with my iPad screen.
Lets face it, electronic handheld devices are much more appealing to young minds. they are infinitely adjustable. Dont like that game/youtube clip/website, press the button and it changes. Compare this to the dumb terminal of the TV. Sure you can change the chanel, put on a video, but the content is not responsive. You have very little control.
So I was faced with a dilemma and I created a solution, a long term solution to include electronic screens in my daughters life with large caveats.
Here is my manifesto:
1. There is no "My iPad" ( insert other device) there is only the family device. This means that the device can not be personalised to a particular member as we all must share. Sharing being an imperative life skill. When my daughter is old enough she can buy her own device and the credit to run it.
2. There is a limit of 20 mins ( before 5 years) and 40 min (after 5 years) per day on ALL devices. To much screen time takes you out of real life and if its for too long, I believe it will affect concentration spans on less adjustable media like books.
3. NO Screens at dinner tables or in Cars. Meal times are important communication and sharing times and everyone one needs to be mentally present as well as physically present. Car journeys can be an important communication time as well for young adults who like incidental conversations. This will not happen if they are buried in their iPhone/iPad.
4. Games/ applications are chosen and installed by adults. This is so that they can be vetted and there will be no accidental installations costing lots of money! As my daughter gets older we will negotiate the types of games which are installed and there will be an opportunity to earn applications that I would not normally allow. Violent or inappropriate apps will always be refused.
5. Devices will only be allowed in family areas as there is less opportunity to access inappropriate content.
6. Net nanny services will be installed to limit access to inappropriate content.
These are my ideas at my daughter is two. I am sure that there will be more challenges that have not been addressed and I will change my hub when they happen.
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