Why Every Child in America Needs an iPad

Why Every Child in America Needs an iPad

My wife and I sat down at a nice restaurant last week. Our table was right next to a larger party of four adults and two young children — both girls under the age of 7 years old or so.

Each of the girls had her own iPad, and each iPad had some high-end noise-cancellation headphones plugged in. One girl was engrossed in a children’s movie, and the other was enjoying a series of apps designed for kids.

So of course I whipped out MY iPad and blogged about it.

Granted, this scene took place in Silicon Valley, where there’s no such thing as an inappropriate social context for consumer technology and, in fact, in the very town where Steve Wozniak lives (Los Gatos). Still, it was a remarkable scene, and one that will be repeated across the nation as the iPad phenomenon spreads.

Letting kids use or own iPads is controversial. Parents, teachers and others aren’t so sure about letting kids get sucked into yet another electronic diversion. Pilot programs at a few schools around the country to experiment with iPad-based learning tools are often met with criticism by parents and teachers alike.

Everybody’s asking: Are iPads healthy for children?

I’m here to tell you: That’s the wrong question.

The right question is this: Is the iPad a healthy *replacement* for TV? And I believe the answer is a resounding yes.

The iPad is scary because it’s new. But most parents have already accepted a gigantic role for something truly in the lives of their children: television. The content kids see on their TV sets is mostly mind-numbing, soul-deadening, formulaic consumerist crap, punctuated by sophisticated ad campaigns designed to transform children into mindless consumers.

When parents complain about inappropriate shows or advertising on TV, they’re told by society: Well, you should watch TV with your kids and discuss the programming, or get a V chip.

Gosh, thanks, society!

As any parent will tell you, managing what kids watch on TV is far easier said than done. Real life is busy and hectic. Working families undergo pressures from every direction, and spend their days scrambling to keep up. Parents simply don’t have time to lord over their children’s media consumption. The reality is that for a long list of reasons, American parents let their kids watch TV. A lot of TV.

Kids spend more time watching TV than they do in class (1,500 hours on TV per year vs. 900 hours in school).

More than two-thirds of daycare centers let kids watch TV during day-care hours.

One-quarter of preschoolers, half of school age children and two-thirds of teenagers have TV sets in their bedrooms. Two thirds of American families watch TV while eating dinner.

It gets worse: The average American child watches 20,000 TV commercials per year. The number-one category of product advertised on children’s TV shows is junk food. And even children’s shows themselves have constant references and even product placement for the worst kind of junk food.

I could go on for pages. The bottom line is that TV is a massive, negative, toxic, unhealthy influence in the lives of American children. I think parents already know this.

Television dominates childhood for a very simple reason: It satisfies everyone’s basic requirements. Children want to be stimulated with humor, drama, fun and novelty. Parents need a break.

That’s why fearing the iPad is such a colossal error. The iPad isn’t a new problem. The iPad is a new solution to an old problem.

By *replacing* TV time with iPad use, parents can dramatically improve the lives of their children.

From a parent’s perspective, the iPad is superior to a TV in every significant way:

* The iPad has far fewer, far less harmful ads than TV. It can even be rendered “commercial-free.” Imagine that.

* The iPad is interactive, for the most part, rather than passive. Instead of just staring motionless at TV, kids could be solving puzzles, actively playing games, typing, drawing and other activities.

* Parents can control iPad content. The App Store contains literally thousands of educational children’s books, games and other apps. By not sharing the iTunes password with children, parents can have total control over what’s on that iPad. By not connecting it to the Wi-Fi network, parents can easily prevent even Internet surfing.

* The iPad can be made age-appropriate. Who knows what kids are watching on TV in their bedrooms? It’s common for children to be attracted to programming for teens, and for teens to watch programming for adults.

* The iPad can be taken outside.

* The iPad can encourage the following of curiosity and discovery. By loading that sucker with a huge number of educational programs, kids can explore and search and discover what their interests really are, rather than being spoon-fed a celebrity-obsessed, shallow and limited set of interests by the commercial-driven TV industry.

* The iPad builds skills. By using an iPad, children can learn typing, multi-touch navigation, problem solving (with puzzles and games) and many other skills. Watching TV imparts zero valuable skills.

* The iPad can actually facilitate parenting. One example of many is a new app called “You Did It!,” which lets kids earn points for doing their chores.

Rather than fretting about whether an iPad is unhealthy for their kids, parents should instead be thanking their lucky stars that something highly educational and parent-controllable has finally come along that kids enjoy using at least as much as the TV.

If you want to argue that electronic, screen-driven devices *in general* are bad for kids, I can’t really disagree with that. But if you believe that iPads are worse than the TV kids are already watching — well, that’s an argument I’d love to hear.

My advice to parents: Unplug that TV and run, don’t walk, to Toys R Us and buy each of your kids an iPad 2 — before TV turns them into “average Americans.”

Related
  • michel lent ?

    mike, i could not agree more with you. i have a 5 year-old and since we got our first iOS device (iPhone) i have been dedicating time to finding apps for kids. i have set up a website for reviewing them (http://www.apps4kids.net) and have crossed against over 500 of them so far. writing, reading, logic, math, language, fun. there is a world out there and loading an iPad with the appropriate content for your kid can be way more than a TV replacement. it might be a massive leap for her development.

  • John

    You’re kidding, right?

  • Deborah A Colclasurre

    I’m sure that the IPad would be a wonderful learning tool for our children. But I dont know about the rest of you, but I certainly can not just run down to Toys R Us and pick one up. They are expensive. Once they come down in price please let me know. I am very sure that the IPad would benefit my son greatly and maybe even help him raise his grades in school. I would love for him to utilize one of these.

  • Brajeshwar

    Nice Article. My 2.4 years old daughter have her own iPad and she know few tricks up her sleeves more than her mother. Many a times, she would surprised us with new things she learnt by herself. I don’t have to click on apps for her, she knows which apps she likes and want to use. She can even unlock the iPad and start off on her own.

  • Brajeshwar

    Btw, I forgot to tell you that my daughter now things everything that has a glass with display on it should respond to her swipe. She would try swiping on the Camera Display to view the next picture.

  • annmariastat

    We bought an iPad for my granddaughter for her third birthday. You’re right, when her mother, sports writer for Fox News Latino @burnsortiz is writing her story, the little one can be on a mother-approved app instead of watching Dora the Explorer for the 400th time

  • Brendan McKenna

    The beauty of an iOS device is, you can simply disable safari in parental controls to disable web browsing, thereby leaving the network available to fetch whatever data they need to be useful, star walk style.

    Of course, if you want to be sure your kids can’t get on the web then you’d have to watch out for apps like twitter, or tune in radio, that have a built in webkit web browser.

  • long2know

    My 2 1/2 and 5 year old daughters do the same things with my Android tablet (rooted Nook Color for $199.99). I have no intention of turning this into THAT sort of discussion, but if I get them their own tablets, I would probably spring for two Nook Colors for less than the price of a single iPad.

    At any rate, I agree tablets are great devices for young children. My daughters absolutely love my tablet, and at times it’s hard for me to get it back. When the tablet is available, the TV remains off, for sure.Another thing I have found that my 5 year really enjoys more than TV is the Kinect.

  • long2know

    My 2 1/2 and 5 year old daughters do the same things with my Android tablet (rooted Nook Color for $199.99). I have no intention of turning this into THAT sort of discussion, but if I get them their own tablets, I would probably spring for two Nook Colors for less than the price of a single iPad.

    At any rate, I agree tablets are great devices for young children. My daughters absolutely love my tablet, and at times it’s hard for me to get it back. When the tablet is available, the TV remains off, for sure.Another thing I have found that my 5 year really enjoys more than TV is the Kinect.

  • Fuckyou

    It is a very naive analysis, almost as naive as saying TV is bad for kids

  • Guest


    it might be a massive leap for her development.”

    We heard the same argument back in the 80s with the personal computer, didn’t we? And then again with the internet in the 90s. And yet, I haven’t seen any studies that link academic performance with accessibility to technical devices. And I say this as a lifelong nerd and a heavy consumer of all things digital.

    In our minds, we’re providing kids with a leg up in their education, but in reality, we’re often just spoiling them with expensive technology instead of giving them an appreciation for the rewards of hard work. There’s little or nothing available on the iPad that isn’t available outside the iPad, be it books, games, or video. Yes, it’s certainly convenient to have it all in one place, and the touch interface is indeed intuitive, but that’s not really justification for giving a 5 year-old a device they’ll likely break within weeks, and will never fully appreciate anyway.

    Figuring out how to put shapes in their like-kind holes and learning the alphabet may be important developmental steps, but they’ve been occurring for thousands of years without an iPad, and in all likelihood won’t be accelerated by an iPad either. OTOH, kids who grow up expecting things to be handed to them (like I did) enter the world and the workplace with an unrealistic sense of entitlement that hinders them as much as any educational barrier. Let kids use iPads — the family iPad(s) — as a reward for good behavior and responsibility, but don’t buy them their own unless you really want them to be “that kid,” whose self-worth is measured by what they have instead of who they are.

  • kms007

    I agree that the iPad is a stunning tool that has a great deal of educational potential. What iPad apps would you recommend for toddlers?

  • CharliK

    While there are some great uses for the ipad, I think that it can go too far. It is very easy to use the ipad as the babysitter just as the TV was. Sure it’s awesome to not have them whining but shoving them away with the headphones etc is going a bit far. Not to mention, what about when you try to take it away from them to eat. That can be a tantrum that negates the benefits.

  • CharliK

    I pretty much have to agree with you. I do not think that the ipad etc should be used for all things. It should be a limited use item within everything else. Which is how it is used in our house. Sure taking games, movies for the car, coloring books etc for a long trip is pretty crazy and for that ‘special event’ we’ll use the ipad for pretty much everything. Including involving the kids in looking up maps etc. fff

    But at home, it’s dress up with play clothes, going outside to the park, coloring with real crayons. If we play diner at home it’s cause we made real food with our real hands and the girls want to pretend to be waitresses and serve us like its a big tea party game (complete with writing up a check, figuring out tax etc). They get perhaps an hour with the ipad if they have been good and mostly they are playing something together (twins so together is cool)

  • Jjbilow

    Children need to be taken out in public to learn manners and proper interactions with adults. You might as well just drug them. Sad to think this is called parenting.

  • barbmos

    How about giving kids books to read and encourage them to play with their friends – outside if possible? How can anyone encourage such young children to use an iPad (or any other similar device) is beyond me. How will they ever learn social skills by spending time with such devices? Same for watching TV, but at least that can be controlled and is a little bit less of a strain on a child’s eyes.

  • The iPad Comic

    $349 (refurbished on apple.com). Think about it for a moment, and it suddenly doesn’t seem that expensive.

  • Alex

    WOW I guess you don’t get out much Mike ….Otherwise you would realize there are way more important issues facing our children.

  • Follower

    Huh. I always thought that the people _without_ children tended to go out more.

  • Rob Moir

    You _do_ realise that its possible to let a kid use an iPad at times and let them still read books too, and still go out and play with their friends? It isn’t like tablet computers enslave their users – how is a tablet computer any less difficult to control than a TV or a “normal” computer? In fact, isn’t it actually pretty easy to tell a kid they can only use a tablet for so many hours of the day and keep it locked away when its not supposed to be in use?

  • SAC

    How about this for an idea parents: All the parents and children put down the IPad and dine with your family when you are at the table. Wow, what a great ideas to replace TV. Family time. Quality talks, educational talks.

  • Ian Paul

    Two things here make me so glad I don’t live in the States.

    1. The fact that TV viewing is so pervasive and uncontrolled.

    2. The fact that the best response (turn it off) doesn’t even rank as a possibility.

    Btw, did you notice that it is not possible to watch TV whilst having a meal in a restaurant?

  • KillianBell

    Excellent article, Mike! Great read.

  • poppa1138

    give a child an ipad as it is educational,entertaining and easliy broken with small hands and feet..

  • IHATESCOTTMMORTZ

    You must have watched a lot of tv when you were a kid. Buying and forcing you’re kids to use an android nook. Are you insane. There are no apps for the nook and android software is made to data mine your personal info. You let your kids use a nook? What, do you want them to be an average moron like you?

  • Marsh12718

    Most “Theme” restaurants (Chili’s, etc.) have MULTIPLE TV’s viewable from any angle, like a “sports bar”. That’s why I don’t like them.

  • scmc

    I quite like my 3 ½ yr daughter and like to play with her. But because life is not perfect, that is not always possible, sometimes, I pass my iphone to her. She uses my iphone when we are cafes and restaurants and the adult conversation moves from the initial light hearted catching up to adult conversation about topics that are not relatable to her and she in effect gets ignored. -Seems perfectly reasonable to me. She also uses it in the car on long motorway journeys and there is nothing for her to see and she can’t play. Again, perfectly reasonable.
    But the best she ever got out of an ipad was on our last trip to visit Nana and Grandad in NZ. Grandad bought an ipad a couple of months earlier and had been researching apps for her. Well, Grandad won her heart as they snuggled up on the couch playing Angelina Ballerina, Cut the rope, Angry Birds, Peter Rabbit story book, and other apps.
    Ipad, like everything else in life have good and bad points, it depends on context. And this context was pure bonding.

  • Apple Fan

    Clearly this guy has never owned an android device, but then I wouldn’t expect someone as ignorant to know how to use one anyway.

  • Steve Jobs

    Its a shame apple aren’t smart enough to create something that will allow you to completely screen what your children watch.

  • Apple Fan

    Clearly your kids are doomed..

  • Steve

    The ipad is waste of time and money, if your kids are using one when they should be out socialising and learning social skills then maybe evolution has set them up for extinction by not being able to reproduce because quite frankly they can’t find anyone who will put up with them.

  • Paris Texan

    Mike did say “nice” restaurant and a sports bar or Chili’s doesn’t qualify by that definition. I agree that an iPad only contributes to the substitute parenting problem in this scenario.

    BTW Ian you may not want to live here in The States, but there is nothing wrong with with our TV sets. The only problem is with parents who don’t control it.

  • ??????? ???????

    TV is bad for American children and American society? Sorry guys, but America (US to be honest) is based on TV. The whole American dream resembles a TV Ad. Redefine your values first, and TV will change. TV isn’t bad. TV is the mirror. Don’t blame the mirror if you don’t like what you see in it.

  • Dave

    or you can let them watch live TV on the iPad!
    http://homeservershow.com/mons
    ha ha

  • Thoughtful Mom

    As a parent of 15 and 11 year old boys, this article misses the whole shift from TV to computers. Many kids spend more time on the computer these days than watching TV. The iPad has some of the same benefits and challenges as computers. Not sure how up to date all the “stats” are – or how relevant they are to activist parents who have have been warned not to have computers OR TVs in kid’s bedrooms. My kids were in group day care for years (3 different places) and TV wasn’t used at all (the occasional movie after a series of days too cold or wet to get outside).We do need to teach our kids how to responsibly use devices as personal technology moves forward (so they don’t turn into those adults who play scrabble with each other on their iPhones while pretending to be involved in living room conversation).We also need to make the effort to teach them to discuss issues, be aware of the world around them and develop human relationships. (An iPad in a restaurant is no different than using a Nintendo DS, GameBoy or coloring book, for a kid that can’t participate – necessary sometimes, but not desirable as they grow older).Unless libraries are going to be getting iPads, it is not clear how the prescription of “every kid needs an iPad” will be filled given our society is at extremes in terms of “haves” and “have nots.”

  • Mick

    Why are people so scared about boring their kid? If they don’t watch the TV they will want to go out… or maybe read a book and no, not a ebook.

  • ZugWoo

    Aww, I think that is so amazing. Kids are just cool like that.

    http://www.totally-anon.at.tc

  • Scott Bell

    Don’t turn you tv off. Remove it. Love the comments. RDI=reluctant digital immigrant FDI=fearful digital immigrant. BDI=ballsy digital immigrant. For those who oppose this article’s perspective, sit down and watch tv with your kids. Choose tools that make kids constant learners. To minimize hissy fits, teach your kids to access their shows on the iPad.

  • Yvonne

    I agree the iPad is better than the TV but parents need to be parents and unplug, or better yet get rid of, the television completely! We did this when our children were small and we took them to the library instead. They are all grown now, think TV is mindless, and still prefer reading over television.

  • Yvonne

    I agree – I live in the states and we got rid of the TV completely when our kids were small. Most people here are aghast when we tell them that’s what we did but it’s not impossible! It’s better to engage them in conversation and teach them something then have them spoon-fed mindless trash!

  • prof_peabody

    It was a bit rude the way it was said, but it’s true. Android devices do data mine the users. Giving one to a child is a bit irresponsible and it does show an ignorance of the data mining issue.

  • Bill Posters

    Manipulating interfaces, games, graphics, icons, buttons… this is easy stuff, not important long term life stuff.

    TV is often mindless drivel, but we’re smart enough to know that mindless drivel is also rampant on computers and online. A good children’s TV show has substance, actors, dialog, narrative, story, meaning, useful information, themes, diversity… it’s all on TV if you choose and balance the right programs for young children to watch.

    Computer applications on the other hand, target a very narrow field of learning per task, without blending it all together for applying to actual life. Watch as the iPad generation struggles to comprehend more than one concept at a time. Watch as they drop the ball on combining and applying what they learned from different apps to one real world situation. Tablet content is more removed from reality than TV content.

    As for advising parents to go down to the toy store and buy an ipad for each of their kids… well, I’m sure Steve Jobs will love that line, but seriously… rookie editorial error. You wanted a big finish, but the closing line is one of clumsiest, overstated remarks I’ve read in ages. You actually believe the iPad can propel a child away from “average-ness” and towards the limits of human intelligence. It’s a wild claim from a desperate Apple fanboy columnist.

  • Jezza101

    As my mum always says, “everything in moderation” – whether iPad or TV. We can argue the merits of one over the other but personally I have so little time to be a parent to my kids that when I am with them I want to interact with them myself!

    Oh, and if/when I do get them a tablet it will be cheaper alternative!

  • Velo

    While I agree with most of your points and have 2 kids and 2 iPads, which they use extensively….the idea of them sitting with me at a public restaurant with noise canceling headphones is not only off limits, it’s socially wrong on so many fronts, that I dare not go into them here. Then again we are the 1/3rd that eat as a family with no tv on in the background.

  • Finderwindow

    Mike, I couldn’t have said it better. We are actually planning to detach FIOS and just get internet. We never watch out TV anyway and its wasting money. I was on the fence about this because I do like to watch local news in the AM but I can just get news on my MBP or my ipad, no biggie. We have two boys and its no problem to cut out the tv. They THEMSELVES never watch it save a few morning cartoons from time to time. We usually stream Netflix or play our Wii. Good post.

    Betcha didn’t expect to open this kind of a can of worms did ya?

  • Jason

    Your are right until they get Angry Birds loaded onto the iPad.

  • Isa

    The article was not encouraging families to have their children playing with an iPad during dinner. It’s about healthier ways for your child to spend their time rather than watching TV. I would rather my child spend her time with an iPad than watching TV

  • Roby

    Wonderful notion for a column, especially the iPad as TV replacement.

    However, the image of a family out for something to eat and each child in his or her world is disturbing. In addition, what happened to just turning off the TV–or limiting hours of viewing. It would be better not to take the iPad outside, but get outside!

    Count me among those who think the idea of parents spending $500+ for each child is extravagant, indulgent, and detrimental to development.

  • Peter

    “More than two-thirds of daycare centers let kids watch TV during day-care hours.”

    My goodness, what are you Americans paying these people for! Where’s the structure? Where are the professional care staff who care about child development? What about taking risks? FUN!!!???

    “Television dominates childhood for a very simple reason: It satisfies everyone’s basic requirements. Children want to be stimulated with humor, drama, fun and novelty. Parents need a break.”

    You’ve nailed it but your conclusion is ‘iPad is better than TV and you can control the content more easily’. Basically parents want to buy off their kids for being too busy to talk to them and too paranoid about the outside world to let them go off, discover the world for themselves and meet other kids (who are similarly mollycoddled prisoners – are shut in the house with the TV like toddler Bin-Ladens).

    I can imagine “To Kill a Mockingbird” written in the iPad era. Zero story as Scout takes her ‘natural curiosity’ towards playing angry birds instead of imagining life from the perspective of Boo Radley (who has been driven out of town by a paedophile hating mob anyway).

    Scout: Daddy, can you explain what all this stuff about hating black people is about?

    Atticus: Honey, I think you should take your natural sense of discovery to the New York Times app and read about it there. I think I read some very interesting 3rd hand article on this very subject.

    Etc. etc.

  • Peter

    I couldn’t agree more. When people say ‘you can learn the alphabet on a iPad’ or ‘you can read a story on an iPad’ they forget the reason a book or coloured letters are compelling is that the child is limited to that choice and are pretty much forced to explore the possibilities limited to that activity. Boredom is actually fruitful too as the child is forced to make something up.

    The choices presented by tablets make them limited educational tools unless supervised by adults (even then, children should really be learning things for themselves in their own way and not have adults there all the time).

  • GreggGraham

    The TV is actually more relational than the iPad. Families are not going to gather around the iPad to watch a compelling story, whereas families have been doing just that on TV for many years. We are one of those families that holds meal times as sacred face-to-face time (no TV, no texting, no electronics period). We don’t watch a lot of TV, but our weekly family viewing of LOST was a true family event. The image of a family out to eat with the children locked in their individual electronic cacoons is horrifying to me.

  • Max Glasner

    This is exactly the kind of comment I would expect from readers of Cult of Mac

  • Kasaialma

    Good luck finding a tablet cheaper than the iPad. The first generation iPad sells now for $300, and the alternatives start @ close to $1000 (unless you are just looking at ebook devices).

    My disabled son uses his iPad to communicate, with an app called “Proloquo2go,” which is not available on Kindle or Nook. He also uses apps for cognitive and fine motor skills. $300 seems like a good trade-off for the therapeutic benefit. Not to mention the independence and self confidence it has fostered.

  • unclebugs

    I do want every child to have an iPad. I have made this argument for years now, but a tablet device makes for a much better and lighter textbook. I would also like to challenge your statistic that children only spend 900 hours in class per year. My wife, a principal, and I just figured children at her elementary school spend nearly 1200 hours a year in school which does not include after hours activities or weekend activities or summer school/camp activities.

  • SteveP

    @
    SAC – Quality conversation with children, in a busy restaurant? Hmm… Not likely to work out as you suggest. And the thought of using electronics while out in public as socially unacceptable is mind-boggling in its own right, after all, in a previous generation you would probably be lambasted for eating out in the first place. I think we focus entirely on the wrong things as to what is good or bad for children and obsess over it, especially when talking about other people’s children. Get over it, keep your nose in your own business and raise your own kids if you have them the way that makes sense to you. In the end, they will all turn out fine. I don’t think an iPad OR a TV is going to contribute to a child becoming a criminal.

  • Rachel

    Just because there are more important issues (to you) doesn’t mean the lesser issues should be ignored.

  • Alex

    I think its a matter of priorities … But overall I haven’t been too impressed by any of this author’s articles.

  • Jack

    “Count me among those who think the idea of parents spending $500+ for
    each child is extravagant, indulgent, and detrimental to development.”

    ^^this.

  • Linda Stephenson

    Wrong, Mike. The right question WAS “Are iPads healthy for children?” and the answer is no. Electronic media are developmentally inappropriate for young children, and there’s plenty of research to back up that thesis. Yes, computers and iPads are interactive tools that leave an opening for creativity–they’re certainly better than mind-numbing tv. But getting rid of tv is easy–just don’t buy one, or give what you have to a senior center or someplace else where it won’t do too much harm. Kids need to live in the world — they need crayons — preferably beeswax block crayons ;-) — and conversation in the restaurant, not parents helping them plug in and tune out. And I suspect you already knew that.

  • brutek

    Good intent, but it is easier for a parent to block porn from TV. It is not convenient for many parents to control internet content.

    I also would have to say while there is much better content on the internet versus TV, YouTube has a LOT of content that is WORSE.

    I agree people should not hold back iPads for their kids, but it is NOT an EITHER-OR decision. I agree with the other comments to use NO electronics and enjoy a conversation with your family at dinner. Or maybe playing outside with one’s imagination.

  • cyberslammer2

    I wonder what the kids of the parents who think the iPad is a fad or not important will be doing academic-wise compared to the parents who get their kids an iPad while still in elementary school…

    It will be interesting to compare them.

  • Dsm3520

    Every retired person over 65 needs an IPad. The PC is way to complicated for them. 95% of what they need can be done with the Web, and email. Ask my 87 year old father on Facebook.

  • tariqk

    I think, American, that every child in America needs access to good nutrition, solid foundational education, and decent medical care.

    Because, let’s face it… what kind of money are you making? How many Americans could possibly dream of making the money you’re making? Please include the number of people in it who aren’t white and college-educated.

    After you sort all of that out, hey, maybe then you can think about giving iPads to children?

  • ussherpress

    Clearly, in the future there will be two classes of people: Those who grew up with iPads in hand and can do complex mental gymnastics because they were able to play with apps at a young age and those who were denied the basic right of an iPad and are stuck working at McDonald’s because they don’t know how to use touch-screen interfaces and cannot possibly learn at an advanced age.

  • ussherpress

    But how would these skills translate into anything useful in the future? Does having an iPad actually increase her development? And what are the downsides to being attached to a computer at such a young age? I don’t know if we have the data to answer this conclusively at this point.

  • Ian Firth

    They have, it’s called a ‘parent’.

  • Victor Panlilio

    In 2006, my (then) 6-year old son and I were watching Jeff Han’s TEDtalk where Jeff demoed a 36-inch multitouch table. My son placed his fingers on the screen of the laptop we were watching on, and he tried to move onscreen objects. I told my son to be patient and that he would have access to this technology in a few years. Now he uses our shared family iPad, which contains e-books such as The Elements, The Solar System, the complete works of Shakespeare, Pocket Universe, Xperica HD (a physics lab simulator), Wolfram Alpha, Qwiki, and other educational apps. He uses the iPad in the car when I’m driving him to tae kwon do class or Kumon class. When he watches YouTube on it, I can hear what he’s listening to (I don’t let him use headphones), plus I can see his entire viewing history. Just this evening he was consulting it while preparing his very first attempt to make his version of Chinese corn soup. I wish I had something like this when I was his age. I sure wouldn’t have watched as much TV as I did, and I would probably have learned a lot more, faster.

  • Victor Panlilio

    What do you suggest the educational talks be about? Molecular biology? Quantum mechanics? Baroque music? Greek mythology? I come from a family of scientists and engineers, and I work in a company full of scientists and engineers. Some of these folks have children as young as four years old learning to make websites. I think the “quality talks” children are having with such parents are being turned into creative endeavours facilitated by digital devices such as the iPad, which are not being used as “electronic babysitters” but as (additional) means of learning and experimenting. I used to worry that my son might become too enamored with the iPad and not want to do outdoorsy stuff, but yesterday he surprised me by doing a 10km (6-mile) hike with me in less than two hours, not bad for his first time out.

  • Victor Panlilio

    We eat as a family with no TV on in the background, either, so electronics such as iPads are not to be used while dining, whether at home or at a restaurant. Servers are often surprised when my son can order off an upscale menu and when he comments on the plating of the dish when it arrives. That’s what can happen when a kid watches Master Chef and Junior Master Chef on YouTube and is given supervised access to kitchens in fine-dining restaurants.

  • Jason Searles

    Hey everybody. Instead of just blathering about how terrible media consumption is for children (though I thoroughly enjoyed your well-written and researched perspective on this, Mike), why not do something about it. Check out your local Waldorf School, if you have one. They are all independent, but rooted in the philosophy of preserving the beauty and innocence of childhood. Thus, no media, until we humans are old enough to begin to understand what we are seeing and experiencing.

  • anilpetra

    Advocating exposing our children to rampant perversion and predators.

    No thanks.

  • jakeludington

    I love the iPad. I love my kids.

    Saying turn off the TV, turn on the iPad is kind of missing the point. Kids need to learn how to behave in social settings where adults are present. Giving them an iPad and noise cancelling headphones teaches them to tune out. We don’t need a digital pacifier for every situation where a kid might potential get bored. And while I agree that the iPad is definitely better than TV, it sounds like you’re promoting the idea of any screen being a great babysitter, with the iPad being the best one. What about interacting with the real world and relying on the imagination for entertainment.

  • Bob_Egan

    Couldn’t agree more. My two year old and I use it together laughing, learning colors, reading books ( or having the iPad read them to her). We’ve also used the ipad on airplanes and in restaurants – keeping her entertained. In fact, often, other kids come over and join her watching Nemo etc.

  • wirelesswatch

    It amazes me that most people don’t even have a frame of reference to consider not owning a television. My daughter was brought up without one and now I have to fight to keep her away from the computer. Yes, television is horrible, yes computers are horrible. The exposure to radio frequency radiation for 7 hours in school will have a devastating effect on a huge number of children in a variety of ways one of which is genetic damage to sperm and ovaries. especially for those who keep wireless devices in their laps. this has already been confirmed in 3 studies http://www.powerwatch.org aside from the carnage that will be coming soon screens are addicting. there are now psychiatrists and psychologists who specialize in computer and cell phone addiction. the computer removes kids from nature so that they don’t understand the importance of preserving nature for our own survival. they can no longer learn in real time but have to have colorful bells and whistles that reach out and grab them. there are so many simple arguments without even digging to underscore that this is a market driven scam perpetrated on our kids and our schools and is not only unnecessary but in the end will take out more kids than tobacco and asbestos combined and leave the rest with alzheimers and brain damage. use google and yahoo and check the science.

  • AriRomano

    The iPad can be taken outside? yes, but you can’t see anything at the screen…

  • Albert Cheng

    Because older people won’t be able to figure out the complexities of poking at a screen to make things go. Dang these newfangled devices!

  • Albert Cheng

    Is there an app to teach children patience or do we have to do that the old fashioned way?

    I don’t have the patience for that! Someone program an app!

  • orthorim

    I gave an iPad to my son but it’s very easy to see that his time with the device needs to be limited. Sure, he can learn a lot, and I am impressed how well he can play certain games at 3 years old. And how he has full control of the device. But give him too much screen time AND no attention and he’ll get whiny and unhappy – simple as that. Give him attention and no screen time and he’s happy (excluding the tantrum-throwing times that are typical for this age).

    Maybe it’s about that, really; the currency between parents and children is attention, the more you give them the richer they grow up. I don’t think TV or iPads are bad per se, but they’re often used so we can deprive the children of our attention and this is what hurts them. Well, that, and the junk food commercials.

  • orthorim

    I hear you but I would like to point out certain practical issues with getting a 3 year old sit down with the family. He will, of course, rather enthusiastically. For about 3 seconds. Then he’s off to somewhere else….

    I have found a way around that – leave him hungry, and he’ll sit down and all on his own eat his food. But my wife disagrees with that so she and grandma end up running after him spoon-feeding him. I think even as an adult, if somebody ran after me feeding me, I’d probably not sit down at the table ;)

  • Kartikay

    Parenting, ah! That god I’m not in that world (yet).

  • patternmusic

    The American Academy of Pediatrics finds TV harmful for children. What makes you think the iPad is any more healthy for developing minds?

  • jayasimhan

    One assumption here is that ipad has less ads if not free of ads.. thats just for now.. if marketers see heavy ipad usage, we’ll see a lot more ads on the ipad as well..

    On the contrary, iPad is a sofware controlled device. We might see sophisticated parental controls or multiple profiles that can help parents/teachers choose whats their kids could see.

  • Dirk Strauss

    Excellent post @MikeElgan and I agree 100 with you. Also have a look at this site:
    http://www.ipad4kids.com/

  • Solon

    So you think it is good for each kid to bring a TV to dinner?

  • ipad 2 blogs

    Oh shouldn’t every child in America learn to play backyard games first than carrying ipads and gadget stuff? I’m not dissing you off but I think it’s best for them to do outdoor stuff first.

  • Brajeshwar

    I’m not of the opinion of treating my kid as my extension whom I would just want to let her do just useful things for now and in future. I’m looking at her interaction more as a fun learning experience. She’s indeed learning and discovering things on her own. I’m satisfied with that idea for now.

    Any attachment to our daily lives have their own up and downs. TV was indeed a learning tool once, its abuse is now what everyone is worried about. I’m sure other tools will have their impacts on our lives, kids or otherwise, both positive and negative.

  • MK

    This is absurd. I was horrified to see several kids in restaurants playing on their iPads at the dinner table with noise cancelling headphones on. How will these kids learn the art of entertaining dinner conversation? Sheer stupidity. Give your kids a sandbox in the back of your yard to play them and teach them something about the real world. Idiots.

  • Jane555

    Yeah, nice idea “Is the iPad a healthy *replacement* for TV? And I believe the answer is a resounding yes.”

    Thought the iPad really a cool game playing device and video&movies watching, just like reveals in this iPad spot, but what’s more is it can be used to a e-book, a intellectual exploiting tool and a tool that make a family on the go~

  • sarahx

    I totally agree. Seeing kids in public immersed in electronics is terrifying. I have nothing against iPads (love mine), computers or TV. But there’s a time and a place, and I see WAY too many of my friends use these devices as a way to keep the kids entertained so they don’t have to.

    Children need to learn social skills, relationship skills and life skills far more than they need to learn how to use apps. Those skills are developed in real life, not on the Interwebs.

    If/when I have kids, they will have plenty of time with computers to learn and explore. They will have plenty of down time with TVs to relax. But they WILL get outside and play, they will learn manners, they will learn patience by sitting in a car and looking out the window instead of at a TV screen in the back of my headrest, and they will eat at a bloody restaurant and be a part of the table, not marginalized so I can enjoy my wine and gossip with my friends.

  • Alex

    I not only agree with others here that children should not be sitting in a restaurant being completely ignored by their parents,
    but the fact that you took your wife out to a nice restaurant for
    dinner and then ‘whipped out your iPad’ I find considerably more
    disturbing! If that seems acceptable to you then no wonder you endorse
    this means of ‘keeping children quiet’ rather than teaching then
    fundamental social skills such as making conversation at the dinner table.
    Someone else said about keeping children sat at the table, well
    colouring books and puzzles (which could admittedly be played on the
    iPad) worked very well pre-Apple and parents then engage with the
    children, looking at what they are doing, talking to them etc. rather
    than sticking a pair of headphones on the children and having adult
    conversation.

  • rorohello

    Agree with most the sentiment below. True that puzzles/multimedia content is better for brain/more engaginging…but devices at the dinner table are a major step backwards in human evolution.

  • JohnDoey

    There is a great book by Neal Stephenson called “The Diamond Age” in which kids are given one textbook when they start school and it adapts to them as they grow because it is computerized and wireless. The book is from 1996, and I remember thinking “wireless Internet? As if!” and of course I had Wi-Fi in my house 3 years later in 1999.

    The idea that you wouldn’t want your kid using an iPad is crazy. It’s a book. It’s thousands of books.

  • JohnDoey

    Pshaw.

  • JohnDoey

    Kids don’t have dinner conversation. They just get bored. Time moves really slow for kids. It’s better to let them learn instead of inflicting your adult world on them.

  • dpgj

    Watching TV during a meal is parent’s choice, so does playing iPad. The point that I disagree most is the controlled Internet surfing. Its too easy to workaround.

  • JohnDoey

    Totally possible to watch TV in a restaurant. Many restaurants have TV’s in the US.

  • JohnDoey

    BS. Kids don’t care to interact with adults. Time moves at a different pace for them. They get bored in 1% of the time.

  • JohnDoey

    There is no difference between an iPad and a paper book. Are you saying kids shouldn’t read books?

    There is also no difference between iPad and crayons. The idea that there is is absurd. There are thousands of drawing tools on iPad.

    And iPad is part of the real world. It is not a fantasy or a made-up thing.

    Drag yourself into this century.

  • JohnDoey

    Again with the kids need to learn how to interact with adults. You are boring your kids to death. Adults move a thousand times more slowly than kids. They know how to interact with you … they just don’t want to.

  • JohnDoey

    They don’t have books at that school? They have 7 year olds with no books?

  • dpgj

    I will take that iPad is just a metaphor for tablet device though iPad certainly is better here for its apps are less dependent on ad to make money.

  • JohnDoey

    Newsflash: eBooks are books. Over the past 10 years, fewer books were published than in the 10 years before, and in 2009, paper publishing died. Dropped off the face of the earth. The eBook is saving reading.

  • JohnDoey

    It is THAT kind of discussion. The fact that some nerd told you an Android tablet is the same as an iPad does not make it so. Your kids will get 10 times the use out of an iPad than they will out of a Nook, making iPad 1/5th of the price of a Nook.

  • JohnDoey

    To Kill A Mockingbird is available for free on iPad.

  • JohnDoey

    BS. iPad has parental controls that are easy for even a non-technical parent to use. It is much, much harder to run a TV porn-free than an iPad.

  • JohnDoey

    Angry Birds is a great toy for kids.

  • JohnDoey

    Yeah, but your kids hate spending time with you. Don’t you remember when you were a kid and hated spending time with your parents?

  • JohnDoey

    iPad is cheap compared to buying all the things it replaces, like books and board games and so on. The software is much cheaper than a computer and iPad requires much less maintenance.

  • JohnDoey

    Dumbass, you can limit them to only being able to watch stuff that you yourself put on the iPad from iTunes on Mac or PC.

  • Sanda

    Maybe you don’t know yet, but you can have a library on your iPad… thousands of digital books, the world is evolving and you have to move with it in the most harmless way… no point in crying for the old times,

  • Sanda

    Maybe you don’t know yet, but you can have a library on your iPad… thousands of digital books, the world is evolving and you have to move with it in the most harmless way… no point in crying for the old times,

  • JohnDoey

    Same argument works against books. Hopefully your kids are learning to read?

  • JohnDoey

    iPad is a book, or a crayon set, or a board game, or a musical instrument. What makes you think those things are harmful for children?

  • JohnDoey

    Sure you can.

  • JohnDoey

    You’re telling me computers are bad but you want me to Google the science?

    Your kids are being harmed much more by unnatural foods, food additives, unhealthy drinking water, air pollution, hole in the ozone, oil spills, radioactive power, and so on than by electronic gear.

    An iPad is a BOOK. Get used to that. Paper is not just going away, it has already gone away.

  • JohnDoey

    What are you even talking about?

    iPads have a parental control system. You can disable the Web, you can easily customize what they have access to. There is no “perversion and predators.”

    A library is literally more dangerous than an iPad.

  • JohnDoey

    He’s watching YouTube on iPad, though, right?

  • Fourthletter58

    Buy each of your kids an item that costs twice as much as a TV they can share. Ever heard of famine or poverty ? Let your kids grow up and buy their own iPad. There is nothing they can get from an iPad that a Mac of PC can’t give them apart from obsessive brand loyalty and no idea how any of the “magic” actually works.

  • JohnDoey

    None of that stuff is getting sorted out anytime soon. American kids might as well have an iPad to use until the lack of a health care system kills them.

    What you are missing is that iPad replaces many things. Books, games, toys, drawing tools, notebooks, calculator, and a computer. It can easily be cheaper overall.

    iPad is $499 and you can get the extended warranty for $80, and at the end of 2 years, when the warranty is up, you can sell that iPad for $200. The net cost is $379, or $15.79 per month. That is less than a trip to the movies, less than buying them one paper book.

  • JohnDoey

    He was specifically talking about unattended TV viewing or iPad use by a child, not family viewing.

  • JohnDoey

    If you replace “iPad” with “book” your rant still works. And you are just as wrong.

  • JohnDoey

    A book is a waste of time and money, if your kids are using one when they should be out socialising and learning social skills then maybe evolution has set them up for extinction by not being able to reproduce because quite frankly they can’t find anyone who will put up with them.

  • JohnDoey

    iPad is more rugged than a lot of children’s toys. And there is insurance available.

  • JohnDoey

    The key is that an iPad is cheaper than all the things it replaces. Buying one paper book per month costs more than an iPad, and iPad comes with tens of thousands of free books.

  • sleepd

    One of the reasons why children behave so abominably in the public US; it isn’t about *them*. They absolutely do need to interact with adults, and learn how to socialize without annoying others. Slapping a pair of noise-canceling headphones on them so they can zone out and not disturb the adults is the worst thing you can do for them and for larger society.

  • craigmcgill

    I’m with the use of iPads yes, but not in a public restaurant – social skills are also important.

  • Gabriel Ross

    You don’t HAVE kids, do you? Angry birds is a great toy the same way crack is good food for them.

  • Charbax

    Let them have $75 Android tablets instead, like the OLPC XO-3 with a sunlight readable e-ink quality Pixel Qi LCD screen, the ipad is obviously ridiculously over-priced.

  • sleepd

    Again with kids need to do what they want when they want. If you are actually raising any children, do you let them play in the street because “they want to”? Not if you want them to make it to 12. “Under 7 or so” means that they are developmentally ready and able to start engaging with adults and leaving fantasy world behind a bit. You can teach them that on your own, or they’ll get the much harsher smack down in school from teachers and peers.

  • Equality 7-2521

    Why would I want my children to grow up to be “average Americans” when they can grow up to be elitist hipster “writers” who think they know what’s best for everybody? Two iPads please!

  • Rathernot

    You “…have no intention of
    turning this into THAT sort of discussion.”

    So why did you bring it up?

  • mtl_zack

    Can you at least provide citations for all those ‘facts’ about television consumption that I’m assuming you pulled out of your ass? I’ll keep on assuming this until you provide a valid source, because I’ve written on similar topics and this information is relatively hard to come by without proper research.

  • Facebook User

    We gave our kids our first generation iPads when we got our iPad 2s. My kids love them, but I am not sure about letting them use the devices at the dinner table. Assuming your family watches TV during dinner you might as well let them use the iPad – otherwise keep talking.

  • ggo arch

    Here’s an even better idea: BE A PARENT. That fact that your wife lets a three-year-old control how your family eats is ridiculous. Get the kid a booster chair with a strap that keeps him sitting. If he doesn’t eat, fine, but at least he’ll be sitting at the table as he should be the entire time.

  • ggo arch

    “By *replacing* TV time with iPad use, parents can dramatically improve the lives of their children.”

    I swear to God I can’t believe you actually had the balls to write that line, or this entire article. Is TV such an unstoppable force that MUST be replaced with something else electronic??

    The mere idea that you are suggesting ANYTHING as a replacement besides reading, playing outside, or SPENDING TIME WITH THEIR FAMILY IN GENERAL defines what is wrong with the youth of this country.

    Too many parents are “checked out” as it is and rely on these devices to babysit and occupy their kids’ attention while they sit there and stare at their iPhones. A lot of our children are on ADD drugs and can barely complete a basic quiz on U.S. History, while children from China et al. are lapping us on overall verbal and math skills.

    * The iPad can actually facilitate parenting. One example of many is a
    new app called “You Did It!,” which lets kids earn points for doing
    their chores.

    Here’s something else that can facilitate parenting: TELLING THE KID YOURSELF THAT HE/SHE DID A GOOD JOB. Christ, are you absolutely kidding someone with this line?!?!?

    * My advice to parents: Unplug that TV and run, don’t walk, to Toys R Us
    and buy each of your kids an iPad 2 — before TV turns them into
    “average Americans.”

    GREAT idea, Mike! Did it ever occur to you that “average Americans” probably have better things to spend their money on that iPad 2s for everyone in the family?

    This article and a typical episode of the Maury Povich show define everything that’s wrong with the American family of 2011. Thanks for the benchmark.

  • ggo arch

    “By *replacing* TV time with iPad use, parents can dramatically improve the lives of their children.”

    I swear to God I can’t believe you actually had the balls to write that
    line, or this entire article. Is TV such an unstoppable force that MUST
    be replaced with something else electronic??

    The mere idea that you are suggesting ANYTHING as a replacement besides
    reading, playing outside, or SPENDING TIME WITH THEIR FAMILY IN GENERAL
    defines what is wrong with the youth of this country.

    Too many parents are “checked out” as it is and rely on these devices to
    babysit and occupy their kids’ attention while they sit there and stare
    at their iPhones. A lot of our children are on ADD drugs and can barely
    complete a basic quiz on U.S. History, while children from China et al.
    are lapping us on overall verbal and math skills.

    * The iPad can actually facilitate parenting. One example of many is a
    new app called “You Did It!,” which lets kids earn points for doing
    their chores.

    Here’s something else that can facilitate parenting: TELLING THE KID
    YOURSELF THAT HE/SHE DID A GOOD JOB. Christ, are you absolutely kidding
    someone with this line?!?!?

    * My advice to parents: Unplug that TV and run, don’t walk, to Toys R Us
    and buy each of your kids an iPad 2 — before TV turns them into
    “average Americans.”

    GREAT idea, Mike! Did it ever occur to you that “average Americans”
    probably have better things to spend their money on that iPad 2s for
    everyone in the family?

    This article and a typical episode of the Maury Povich show define
    everything that’s wrong with the American family of 2011. Thanks for the
    benchmark.

  • wa3l

    That sounds like someone who’s really a parent, unlike @10401b9666cc1aafe4cc0f92c18fd497:disqus here … now I’m not a parent, but my brother – who lives with me – is, and I know how hard to it is to apply those “parents rules”!

    I’ve been fascinated with the iPad’s ability to entertain since day 1, I always told myself “wow, I could only imagine how much I would’ve enjoyed this when I was 10!”.

  • ggo arch

    NEWSFLASH: Inflicting your adult world on them by INTERACTING WITH THEM is how they LEARN TO BECOME ADULTS THEMSELVES.

  • ggo arch

    “Again with the kids need to learn how to interact with adults.” Yes John, AGAIN. That’s how children become socialized to BECOME adults. Clearly you’re of the opinion or the generation that believes children should be allowed to do whatever they want as long as it makes them happy. WRONG. Parents aren’t a child’s best friend. They’re parents. Clearly you have no idea what responsibilities that entails, including raising your children with social interaction skills. You clearly have none. Please don’t reproduce.

  • Victor Panlilio

    Sometimes on iPad, sometimes on my wife’s notebook computer, sometimes on our family desktop computer, and not during mealtimes or before homework and Kumon are done. We limit screen time on each device and employ OpenDNS filtering using category-based and list-based exclusion criteria, and from time to time I check the log of which domains are being accessed. What feeds a child’s mind is just as important as what feeds his or her body.

  • Guest

    Leave it to the foolish technology business to think an iPad is more important than fixing the education issues in this country.

    This article is ignorant.

  • matthewhurst

    This is a very sad article. Technology in this context is a means to avoid experiencing the world. Eating at a restaurant is an experience, not a context for demonstrating your regret at having children. My daughter doesn’t watch TV and doesn’t ever ask to watch TV for a simple reason – we don’t watch TV.

  • Edgar

    iPad to the
    rescue of parents! But sometimes I get frustrated with the amount of time my
    kids spend in front of a computer playing games. iPad is certainly fun and
    entertaining, but technology in general does not help my kids to make good
    choices about what they do with their free time, the reality is that this is
    quite the opposite, they tend to waste their time with games as oppose to
    reading books or being involved in more meaningful activities.

  • ussherpress

    I guess I don’t see your point that your child knows some more “tricks” on the iPad as being worthwhile. I don’t see that as different from giving your kid a yo-yo and seeing her do tricks that you can’t. Kids have time and energy to spend on things like that.

  • bafonso

    Let the kids explore whatever they feel like. There’s too much limiting already in US. Kids are not stupid.

  • Dachydy

    What kind of ignorant shmuck, with absolutely no idea of the meaning of parenting and upbringing are you to spew such inane drivel? I assume that the whole notion of writing this came to you based on the fact that the kids were sitting calmly and not causing trouble? In such case: what happens when the ipad’s battery dies, pray tell? Employ parenting skills you obviously lack?I seriously hope you don’t have kids. For their sake.

  • Peter

    Finland comes out as one of the top countries for Education and instead of iPad’s (or Nokia devices) children learn to count by going into the forest and counting sticks or stones. The people queuing up to give their young child an iPad forget the journey to the forest, the texture of the wood, the adult, the group, being able to hold the number one (a stick) all help the child master counting and what numbers are about. This article could almost be a parody it’s so worrying. Unfortunately it is deadly serious.

    Please buy them the iPad when they are old enough to understand what the representations refer to from first hand experience!

  • blyan

    The amount of parents on here who are completely out of touch with society/reality/their own children is absolutely astounding. Seriously, what planet are you people from? This isn’t the 60s anymore. The iPad can be used for reading, learning, news, educational videos, movies, etc. While I agree that I wouldn’t let children use the iPad at a table in a restaurant (or buy them for each child in general), they’re certainly a much better distraction for kids than television. To all the people saying things like “Maybe you should try being a parent instead of letting your kids use electronics”… are you actually being serious? You mean to tell me that you spend every waking second of your life with your children and never let them watch tv or use a computer? You all just sit around having family time and talking with each other or something? It’s ridiculous. Parents need a break, and Mike’s point that the iPad is a much better replacement for the tv is entirely true. Family time? Quality talks? Educational talks?

    I don’t even have kids and I know that any kid would rather gut themselves than to sit around talking with someone who is clearly as boring as you. They’re going to go off and do something else anyway, so it may as well be something useful and educational. Can we please lose this ridiculous 60s mindset and get with the 21st century? It’s embarrassing.

  • Myron

    Do you have a citation for the “The average American child watches 20,000 TV commercials per year” statement?

  • Malevolution

    “Everybody’s asking: Are iPads healthy for children?
    I’m here to tell you: That’s the wrong question.
    “The right question is this: Is the iPad a healthy *replacement* for TV?”

    So the “wrong” question is whether or not you want one of your limbs broken. The right question is which limb you want broken. What?
    Seriously, the approach is that an iPad is good for your kid because it isn’t as bad as something else?I don’t know if I’m willing to treat my children like a presidential election, in which I’m choosing between the lesser of two evils. For my child, I choose neither evil.

  • TamaraJacobs

    I’m also a little unsure about your use of asterix in this article. Will the iPad replace TV or add to it? The problems you bring up with television in this article (other than junk food ads) have nothing to do with the medium and everything to do with parental rules and regulations. When I was growing up, we had a television but we weren’t allowed to watch it during the week or during the day on weekends. If television is such an issue, then why are parents putting them in their childrens’ rooms and allowing them to watch so much of it?

    You may be right that the iPad has more learning benefits than TV but I was turned off by this article from the very first paragraph. The idea of two young children being excused from dinner time conversation and family time so that they can play on their toys is also an issue. I think that when families are out together they should be spending time together, learning and communicating with one another. It’s one thing to give your kid a toy to play with in the car, it’s quite another to do so at the dinner table.

    With so many availbale toys distracting young children it’s no wonder why no one can focus on anything for more than 30 seconds anymore.

  • Owenl1998

    Hi Mike,

    Long time no talk. And I totally disagrree. As a parent of two who we managed to raise successfully through high school and on to college without TV or much computer time I can categorically state that the children AND the parents would have been better off if the kids had had NO electronic devices and were insted being taught how to act at a nice restaurant – and how to enjoy it.

    And having an iPad as a crutch will only prove to be a disservice to those kids in the long run.

  • ggo arch

    No one’s implying that every waking moment should be spent talking to their children and helicopter parenting. The point is, Brian, that TOO MANY parents these days use devices to parent their kids, and articles like this only serve to exacerbate that. Period. Anything in moderation is fine, and the iPad is an amazing tool that our own children use from time to time.

    BUT the whole basis for this article is the premise that “As any parent will tell you, managing what kids watch on TV is far
    easier said than done…Parents simply don’t have time to lord over their children’s
    media consumption.” Bottom line: if you’re so busy (or more likely disinterested) that you have no idea or control over what your kids are watching on television, you shouldn’t have had kids.

  • Narciso Pardo Buendi

    I Kind of enjoyed your article. But have you even thought about the cost for an average family of what you are saying? Not everyone lives in Silicon Valley, as you, and for many families buying such things to their children is totally impossible. I don’t know many children that handle their TV to go outside to play with it, probably because TVs weight a little bit, or probably because there would be many chances for the kid to break it. However i would not let an iPad to any kid, especially one of mines, just because i don’t want to be buying one every week. When I was young I use to play with my all classroom only with one ball that worth no more than 20$. No one should link his life to electronic equipment, but of course not a kid.
    In the other hand, i agree with the most popular comment. Instead of buying another “thing” to stick you’re soon to it (as you said: “The iPad can be taken outside.”) you should tell you’re soon to do many other things. Take your kids to a zoo; they would enjoy that more than any app.

  • Alan

    Mike, I’m not sure whether you want me to laugh or cry. I have two kids, my eldest daughter is 4, the youngest is 2. At the dinner table we use an app called ‘conversation’ – it’s an oldie but a goodie, and engages both adults and children alike. More people should try it. The best thing is, when my daughters meet other people – both old and young – they can share the ‘conversation’ app with them too. I like to think that this is a superior outcome than having them stuck in their own little e-world with noise-cancelling bins clamped on their heads. And before you think I am raising Luddites, my daughter is comfortable using a touch screen when the situation is appropriate. I (and my wife) on the other hand am not comfortable using a touch screen as a babysitter or a intel-powered pacifier.

    And if you’re wondering which bit I was laughing at; it’s the thought of you blogging while you and your wife were ‘sat down at a nice restaurant last week’. Dude, really?

  • Vertti

    It would be wonderful if Finland could debloy iPads too. There is so much that iPad can do.

  • ggo arch

    WRONG. There’s a huge developmental difference between children using their own imagination and creativity versus having a device do all the work for them.

  • Kfoxwell

    I agree with you that an iPad is most certainly better than TV. At our house we have no media during the school week. I only have limited time with them when I get home from work and when I put them to bed and I want to be the one engaging with them – sharing, learning about their day, talking through problems, etc. I really don’t see the need to plug them in when its convenient to an iPad. Yes, times have changed, but what’s happened to talking wtih your kids at dinner? Playing a game with them while waiting for your food. Or, when driving in a car. I’m not saying I’m opposed to never plugging them in. Trust me the TV screen on the seat in front of us is very handy when flying cross-country to visit the family, but I think chiildren need to learn valueable social skills that they miss out on when they are constsantly plugged in to technology.

  • 3rkid

    Decent article, but does Toys R Us seriously sell iPads?

  • ggo arch

    Newsflash: Most ebooks are also available in print. And clearly many of the books I see in Barnes & Noble were published AFTER 2009, so that’s a stupid point as well.

  • undetected

    There seem to be two sets of comments. People who have kids tend to agree, and those who say the parents should do better in the first place don’t state that they even have kids.

  • CraigRodrigues

    TV isn’t “mind-numbing.” Can’t use a blanket statement like that on something so broad. TV is everything from Planet Earth to Boardwalk Empire to Jersey Shore…

  • Ebroadhurst

    Terrifying article. Luckily, we don’t have a television, so there is nothing to “replace.”

  • JS

    Wow, you’re totally wrong there. There is a huge difference between using a machine to draw and gaining fine motor-skills by using actual crayons. There are subtleties in using a device vs. the real thing that you are really missing. Also, yes, the iPad has books. Most of them are interactive and have people/things that move, dance and sing, just like the movies/TV. Books are static and DO require imagination.

  • pleaseinsertacoin

    You can’t possibly mean that… please say you’re just trolling.

  • Relwal

    The iPad is not a book. It’s an interactive electronic device on which you can read ebooks. There are huge differences.

    Interactive electronic devices create feedback loops with the user wherein intermittent reinforcement strengthens the impact of the experience. They discourage social interaction, and their use displaces real world experience.The iPad is nothing like real books or crayons. Interactive electronic devices are largely considered harmful to developing children by developmental psychologists and pediatricians.

  • Kathleen

    Um, no, I loved spending time with my parents. And my kids love spending time with me and choose activities with me to put on their reward charts. Are you just arguing for argument’s sake?

  • Pinksheetslaw

    Many of the comments hit on my sentiments: Whatever happened to interacting with your kids? I see mothers (and fathers) pushing kids in strollers. The kid is pointing at something she sees and the parent is oblivious because he has his iPod buds in his ears or is tweeting or texting or watching ESPN on his smart phone. When the child reaches the age that she can’t be ignored in the stroller, the parents up the pacification with a video. And now we’re implored, ordered, even, to buy an iPad lest the little ankle-biters demand more attention. Eventually the kids grow up to be social retards who cannot interact face to face because they’ve been nurtured electronically.

  • kdilkington

    Well I’m sure someone’s going to write an iPad app now so that people don’t have to “waste” time going into the forest. It’ll be more streamlined on the iPad so you can make the most out of your child’s youth by filling it with even more activities with a computer screen.

  • Asa

    I suggest you re-read the article. In no way is the author saying that this solves, “what is wrong with the youth of this country.” You seem to fall into the category of people he points out near the beginning of the article.

    “Everybody’s asking: Are iPads healthy for children?
    I’m here to tell you: That’s the wrong question.The right question is this: Is the iPad a healthy *replacement* for TV? And I believe the answer is a resounding yes.”Taking this into account, the author has some great points. Plenty of parents do not enough spend time with their kids and it is a known fact that the TV can become a babysitter figure in this situation.

  • jarate corp.

    yo. hey. this is dumb as hell. love, faggot

  • John

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

  • Freethinker

    @Ian What an idiot judging all of America by this stupid article’s author. Believe me, we are just as glad that you don’t live here.

  • PopeRichardCorey

    Gosh, it sure would be wonderful if every kid in America had an iPad! And could afford that iPad and the WiFi network to disconnect it from!

    I honestly don’t understand why poor people don’t just buy iPads. Think of all the junk food they would save money on.

    And do you want to get iPads to the kids in America who don’t watch TV? Because there are plenty.

  • Mayim

    Thank you for this article. To those who are appalled at me buying my 3 year old (who is now 5) an iPod and allowing her to use my iPad- STFU. I’m not asking you to purchase it. iPod/iPad use is limited to the weekends. She doesn’t bring it to the table while eating. Her favorite “game” on there right now, that she picks up and plays on her own? Fractions. She has taken the initiative to learn fractions and she is 5 years old. She’s bilingual in English/Spanish and is learning Mandarin. She has some movies on there which I have ripped in Spanish. She has plenty of books on there, but she also has the paper kind, which she reads at least one every night before bed. She is very active and highly creative. Loves to draw- with real crayons and markers, and the virtual kind. I challenge anyone to tell me what I am doing is detrimental to my kid. I don’t just let her loose with the iPad with no supervision. It’s an activity we do together. Everything in moderation. This is just one more learning tool.

  • Frank Slodysko

    I wonder how bad parents will react the first time their child throws the ipad, or spills their juice all over it without a care in the world. “Mommy, my ipad doesn’t work!” – “Why not? Let’s see..AAAAAARRRRRGH

  • lex

    yeah but in places like australia our broadband is crap so ipads won’t take off for some time. Maybe in the US where you have heaps of bandwith…

  • long2know

    There are tons of apps for the Nook Color and data mining is opt-in at best. You know not of what you speak, and you’re probably more suited to stay on Mac Cult sites than joining the rest of society.

    Thank you for being a complete ass-hat, jerk.

  • long2know

    The only thing accurate in your statement is that part about being rude. I should have expected these sort of responses, I suppose.

  • long2know

    I brought it up to share MY personal experience and nothing more.

  • long2know

    Some nerd? Nice one. Are you in 5th grade or something?

    It is only now THAT kind of discussion because YOU choose to make it one. Believe what you want. I will not indulge or enable you.

  • xxdesmus

    oh good god no. Here’s an idea …get every child a laptop for 1/3 the price of an iPad instead. We really don’t need to be encouraging the Evil Empire, and you need to lay off the kool-aid.

  • robvs


    Parents simply don’t have time to lord over their children’s media consumption.”
    Sorry, but TV and iPads aren’t the problem. Parents are.
    Too many parents are too selfish to give up something in order to spend time with their kids.

    I have a 5 year old. I’m also trying to build a startup company outside of my day job. Things are progressing really slow with the startup because quality time with my child comes first. And guess what, when I’m playing with my child, she is not watching TV.

  • Jessica V Allen

    Wow, welll there certainly are some strong comments regarding this blog post. I find myself happily perched on the fence on this one. I think the underlying message needs to be BALANCE. I am a mom of two and we do have an iPad that we let them use in restaurants AFTER we are all finished eating and talking as a family and my husband and I want to have a small coffee before we head off from our dining experience. We have taught our children to sit and be quiet and talk with us while we eat but we’ve also given them some time to do what they want to do which is play games and learn with technology. We use this idea of BALANCE in just about everything we do as a family. If my son wants to play 30 minutes of Wii or iPad, then he has to go outside for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour with ALL OF US and play tag first. Same with my daughter and wanting to watch Blues Clues or some other show. They have clearly gotten the message that technology is in our lives but does not define it. I think if we all remembered to put everything in perspective and BALANCE our use of technology, we would have happy kids AND happy parents.

  • NYTony

    I was looking over the comments below in a bemused way. I see people postulating about no screen time etc etc etc. The fact of the matter is this: the iPad is a tool. As all tools, there are proper times, places, and reasons for using the tool. Likewise, it can be used incorrectly and at times that are not appropriate.

    I am a technology trainer, and as such I have much of this tech at home. First off, we try to limit the amount of TV that the kids watch, and I solved the whole commercial problem by getting rid of Cable and Sat by going exclusively with netflix for streaming. I can put on the instant que what the kids are allowed to watch, and best of all NO commercials.

    At my house we have literally hundreds and hundreds of real print books. From kids board books, to teen books, to the great works of the master’s. I have let my kids use my Ipod Touch for stories and little games from time to time as a special treat. But lately I have been thinking about getting my son his own. (The iPod Touch is basically a smaller version of the ipad at half the cost. There are some differences, but they are similar enough.)

    What’s making me consider getting him his own was this “book” i bought in the App store entitled “Our Choice.” for $4.99. Written by Al Gore, it’s based on his book published in 2009. BUT it’s not just an ebook. At least what people think of as an ebook. As you turn the pages, if you see a photo, you can make it larger and zoom in, see where the photo was taken in a interactive map. When you see a chart, you can interact with the data to see in more detail and clearer explanations. There are times where a photo becomes a short video clip. My son age 10 has asked for the ipod every night this week. He’s not playing games, he’s reading this book. We’ve had conversations about climate change, and energy conservation that we’d never have had before. And even though some of the typed material has been beyond him, the video clip or short narration of a photo have helped to fill in the gaps. I even saw my son pop out of the app to go to the dictionary app to look up a word, and I looked at the safari history and saw that he was looking up more info about some of the concepts in the book. All of that is much more difficult to accomplish with a traditional print book. It’s also substantially different than the Kindle or older Nook idea of what an eBook is. I used to want a Kindle, but not anymore, not after seeing what digital books could and should become. Can you imagine Textbooks like this? Where the photos and charts come to life? Instead of just seeing a still diagram of how a circuit works, they can interact with it, get a little more background with a short video clip. Exciting. With an iPad, he could even then begin to write a research article about it if he wanted too. (Hmmm maybe I should get one, and give him my iPod Touch)

    There in lies the power of the device, and why every kid needs one. It can do so much and when used appropriately can be an extremely powerful tool in the education of our young. Of course you could just sit there and fling birds around the screen (but then again the physics models are pretty accurate and could lead to structural engineering ideas)

    So I suggest you all get off your high horses and think about the proper use of these tools and how they can be a benefit to today’s kids. We can either embrace the devices and make them work for us, or we can turn our backs to it like we did when blogging first came out. We all know how great that worked out with all the problems with kids and MySpace . . . . remember that?

  • Kreig303

  • Chris

    What a great idea. Kids should *always* come to the dinner table with their iPads. That way, adults can have quiet. Forget conversation with adults and family, this is passé. After all, kids nowadays are not enough into themselves.

  • abhimanyughoshal

    Wow, can I just sum up Elgan’s thoughts by saying FAIL? Most of the other comments have covered what I wanted to say already.

  • Jatinder Virdee

    This is unbelievable!! As if Tvs werent eating up family time, now kids “have to have an ipad”!! Perhaps we should look for new ways of spending time with one another as a FAMILY instead!!! Kids dont need all this!!

  • Harmonyhealer

    oh, but it is in the US, in addition to stupid cell phone usage during which the person sitting next to you (usually my spouse) is talking at the top of his lungs about something which absolutely never amounts to anything immediately important or relevant. Americans think having a cell phone to their ear in social settings makes them more important rather than ignorant. Oh how I long for humans to begin to respect each other, and I wouldn’t dream of buying my child an IPad. Maybe that ‘s why she is creative and a computer genius today, because she had to work to buy her own. So it had some value!

  • Harmonyhealer

    How disrespectful, why not reply to what he really said?

  • Harmonyhealer

    Thank God, you are the exception.

  • jimmysilvs

    yes, replace tv with an ipad so it can distract children while you’re busy not parenting! don’t get me wrong, i’m all for kids learning to use technology early on but your arguments are absurd, biased, and strangely irrational.

    “Who knows what kids are watching on TV in their bedrooms?”
    …don’t put a TV in your kids’ bedrooms?

    “Watching TV imparts zero valuable skills.”
    …there are educational TV programs just as there are educational apps and websites.

    “The iPad can be taken outside.”
    …so the child can continue consuming media and not interacting with others or engaging in physical activities? how is this a plus?

    “The iPad can actually facilitate parenting”
    …good, why be a parent when the iPad can do it for you?

    more importantly, your claims against tv in general are based on allowing a child to have completely free reign of the tv with no parental control whatsoever and a penchant for late night cable tv, which is a fair assumption these days (a reasonable parent would never allow this). but it’s not a valid comparison to an iPad stocked with educational apps only and no internet access.

    sidenote: the example of the two children ignoring their present company in favor of playing on their iPad was NAUSEATING. this is what you wish for future generations? people so completely enthralled by their gadgets that they completely ignore the real world?

  • GreggGraham

    Well said @sarahx – couldn’t have said it better myself. Unfortunately, most parents today are consumed with their own digital technologies, and children are just mimicking mom & dad’s behavior. A teacher friend told me that the teachers at her school no longer like taking field trips because the parents come but many of them spend all their time texting or talking on their cell phones. Pretty sad. Hopefully there are more future parents out there like you, and this situation will turn around.

  • JG

    Kids are not stupid, but they are kids, and as such, are vulnerable.

  • Christy

    I’d like to see the research that you refer to, because the studies I’ve seen point to the exact opposite. In fact, the question of health has already been answered. They aren’t “unhealthy” by nature and, in fact, have been shown to be extremely beneficial for kids with special needs (actually allowing some children to communicate) and kids who are visual learners. The question should really be, “How do we use iPad with kids in a healthy way?” I agree that kids need to live in the world, but technology is PART of that world. Those who declare that all technology is bad for kids are simply clinging to what is comfortable and familiar. You can read a book on an iPad (although I prefer the paper version) and, you can just as easily tune out a conversation while reading a paper book. The key is stepping it up as a parent, providing balance in your kids lives (we can have beeswax crayons AND an iPad), and learning how to best utilize all of the tools available to us.

    As for the ability of children to sit still in a restaurant… With the exception of some kids who have specific special needs, MOST children can learn to behave if they have consistent feedback both at home and while out. We all managed to survive eating in restaurants without a bit of technology. Why don’t we set equally high expectations for our kids?

  • Christy

    How can anyone encourage such young children to read books? How will they ever learn social skills by spending time with a stack of dead trees?

    Think about what you’re saying. And please don’t spread false information: an iPad (which can certainly be controlled) is NOT more of a strain on a child’s eyes than a TV. Thank heavens our scientists were not held back by the anti-technology folks commenting here. We’d still be dying of small pox and tetanus.

  • seldombites

    I would love to be able to afford an i-pad for my kids but I can’t even buy one between them, let alone one each. I don’t even have one. Certainly, if they did have one, they would sure as heck not be using them in the middle of dinner at a nice restaurant. That is wrong on so many levels. We don’t watch a lot of TV. The occasional news, Q&A and Insiders program, sometimes Saturday morning cartoons. We do take turns choosing a DVD each night, but that is commercial free. I-pads could make a great occasional toy, but there is no need for overuse.

  • Blippitybloo

     You do realize that there’s a difference between treating an inanimate, overly-stimulating object as a parent or babysitter and just letting them enjoy said object on occasion and in moderation, right? Because I’m not sure you do.

  • Blippitybloo

     While I’m far from being a prude, I really don’t think it’s appropriate to let one’s seven year old stumble upon hornywettentaclerapingassfucki… because they were curious.

  • bafonso

    How would they stumble upon it? And even If they did, what harm would it do? He or she would just be probably disgusted and close it immediately. 

    I’m not saying to take your kids to a porn show but this mentality of wanting to shelter kids from the real world leads to really screwed situations like the rating system where no one can see a nipple but everyone can see the bloodiest movies ever.

  • bafonso

    I have yet to see a filtering system that can detect vulnerable situations for kids.  

  • Robertkarst69

    Ever hear of the great outdoors? Take your kids for walks, play games with them, get a leapster for younger children, when eating keep them at the table in a boosterseat and don’t let them control you, you are their parents afterall. Stop acting like electronics are the babysitters and get up off your ass and take care of your children. I work in security installation and I am quite busy with that yet i still find time for my children and that interaction is the most important. Forget the expensive ipads, get interactive games and play them with the kids.

  • Mslemeri

     Option 3: Make your damn kids play outside. My entire livelihood depends on technology, but if I had been brought up on iPad apps and TV ads, there is no way I would’ve developed the social and practical skills I have now. Outside is not that scary. Just try it.

  • Mslemeri

     Option 3: Make your damn kids play outside. My entire livelihood depends on technology, but if I had been brought up on iPad apps and TV ads, there is no way I would’ve developed the social and practical skills I have now. Outside is not that scary. Just try it.

  • Parenting Skills

    i think that ipad has far more advantages for kids and definetely it is a better replacement for TV , but still i believe that kids should spend more time playing outdoors and with the family. Also extensive use of ipad will be harmful for any kid.

  • Lil

    This is pretty much the dumbest logic I have ever read.  Kudos to you for making an argument that supports the growing obesity epidemic. Sweet.

  • zzzzz78759

    Truly disturbing.  I don’t care about people allowing their children to use IPads or even that you’re of the opinion that every child should have one.  What’s disturbing is that these children were allowed to just zone out everything around them and play with their IPads.  Better they were just left at home with a babysitter…and no IPad.

    The notion that families can run out and buy IPad 2s for each of their children, along with those $100+ “high end” noise cancelling headphones is ludicrous. 

    Mike, sorry, it’s time to get out of Silicon Valley and into the real world.  Please, please, put down the electronic devices, head to the nearest second had book store, pick up a copy of a real book with real pages, hop into your SUV and head out to the mountains or the desert or out to sea or out into the prairie or even a trip out of the country for a week, or even a long weekend.  

    Rediscover how simple and clean life is WITHOUT having to whip out your IPad and blog about something as disturbing as this.  It’s really amazing how nice it is to sit down with a good book without having to stop to answer the phone or text or blog or play some inane game.  

    When was the last time you had a real conversation with your wife?  Perhaps you could discuss that vasectomy because I honestly believe people like you should not be parents.

  • MayaH

    This article is rubbish. This is why this country is going down the crap hole quickly. We are so quick to pick up our laptops and other electronic device’s that we disregard good old fashion learning and interaction. Encourage your children to grab a paperback and read!!! It has been  proven that computer and internet usage have significantly decreased a person’s ability to focus. This article is just a representation of what this society has turned into. Indirect propaganda to divide the family unit.  

  • MayaH

    It’s like a vicious cycle almost.

  • MayaH

    “A library is literally more dangerous than an iPad.” 

    Walk up to a mirror and take a hard look at yourself. Repeat this sentence out loud and then ask yourself if this statement really makes logical sense. It’s sad  when a person feels that a library poses a threat. O_0

  • etaripcisum

    Honestly, I think most of the people hear are a little too quick to judge. As stated in this article, kids will find entertainment in any outlet they can; by replacing more mature themed entertainment (XBOX, PS3 and MAGAZINES) with an iPad, that truly does stimulate growth. The iPad’s truly an all inclusive device that not only functions for games and media, but books, digital magizines, newspaper subscriptions, the ability to Skype or Facetime your friends or family all over the world for free, print wirelessly to a printer anywhere in your home, connect it wirelessly to any TV in your home (Apple TV) create word documents, powerpoints or spreadsheets for school, GPS yourself or geotag your photos, organize pictures from your digital camera, take notes with a stylus or draw, organize your life with a digital calendar, and explore the world around with you with such ease, a 7 yr old could effortlessly demonstrate everything I just said. Plus with 10 hours of continual battery life, your 2 pound iPad will outlast your slow (and probably heavy) laptop any day of the week. They boot up and shutdown instantly, and they’re impervious to spyware or viruses unlike your Windows 7/Vista/XP/Whatever your running machine. What a fantastic value the iPad is! I feel a lot of people don’t see it yet, but in time I’m sure everyone will. When you buy your child a new tablet computer like the iPad, you’re not putting up with all the bloatware companies like Dell, HP, Gateway, Sony, Toshiba, ASUS, Acer, E-Machine, and Samsung love to put on your brand new computer. Really all that junk just slows down the machine, not to mention eats into your battery life. Why pay $150 for Microsoft Office Home & Student when iWorks costs only $30 on the iPad and has full Microsoft Office functionality? Dragon Naturally Speaking costs $100 on the PC but on the iPad, it’s free. You can buy a cheap laptop for $300 but it’s never ready to use out of the box; you’re paying for Security software, you need the restore discs they don’t come with and software in general for the computer costs so much more then any iPad ever will. That makes the $499.99 starting price point for the iPad not such a bad deal. That’s why in my mind, I feel you’re going to start to see a lot more parents noticing how a tablet truly does benefit their children’s lives and the iPad’s role in our daily lives will grow just as iPod’s did 10 years ago and revamped the way we do music. Technology has the ability to liberate our lives just as much as we like to think it enslaves us, devices like the iPad however have an overwhelmingly positive effect on children vs. almost any other device they’ll use in childhood. As a college student myself, I’m paying $20 to rent my college textbooks on my iPad vs. $150 to buy a used textbook off Amazon, plus now all my books have built in dictionaries, thesauruses, different font sizes and the ability to take notes right within the book. I can read Amazon Kindle books, Nook books, PDF’s and E-PUB books from my local library right on the iPad, so in terms of value, you really do have to reconsider what arguments make the most sense in not buying one unless of course you really can’t afford it. But if you can’t afford it, then don’t bother buying a cheap laptop PC either, because for what most people do (i.e. facebook, e-mail, Microsoft Office, Netflix, Skype, video/photo editing/uploading, lightweight gaming) you can do all of that on a tablet. You don’t even have to use flash drives or external hard drives on your iPad thanks to cloud services like Dropbox, Pogoplug and iCloud now. Plus with Adobe discontinuing Flash, all future websites will work fine on the iPad. Research it, but there’s a reason your local Best Buy now has an entire aisle worth of Tablets and that section where netbooks used to be is now looking a little bare.

  • Meryam Fatima

     Last Sunday I was searching  for online toys store because I have to buy a  gift for my 6 years old daughter for her birthday .i spend my whole day in  searching for well reputed online toys store.
      After a lot of search I found a store with  the name of ToysDaddy.com. they help me to buy my gift,  very supportive people are there.i really appreciate their services ,I strongly  recommend This online toys store

  • Sarah Montgomery Calatayud

    You people are ludicrous!

    I don’t think I read this article as ANY kind of suggestion that iPads or any other electronic devices should replace active time outdoors.  So get those hackles down, crazies!

    I think I read it as a suggestion that it SHOULD replace TV, and with that I wholeheartedly agree.  Television is pure unadulterated evil for kids.  Even the good stuff (My kids and I love the SciFi educational show “How It’s Made”) is interrupted for commercials for male sexual enhancement aids (no joke, saw a commercial for http://www.PosTvac.com during the show yesterday morning that lasted 5 minutes – awful, during morning hours, too).  Do you really want your daughters watching iCarly and your boys talking like Drake and Josh?  Hell, no! 

    So get off your high horses and be a little open minded.  The world is headed in this direction, and kids need to be involved in creative, INTERACTIVE electronic activities instead of TV.  Outdoor activity is OF COURSE a must, and we are outside constantly, even in winter.  But for downtime, throw that TV out the window and check out a game called Super Scribblenauts or Minecraft on the iPad. Excellent, creative “down-time” that teaches lots of skills to kids that will be highly valued in the world. 

    And there is an awesome Parental Control program that is free for all those devices, called K-9, that is EXCELLENT. 

    Great article, Mr. Elgan!

  • Sarah Montgomery Calatayud

    You are clearly stuck in the stone age.  And the comment at the end made your whole opinion void.  Nice job!

  • Sarah Montgomery Calatayud

    Stop being so nauseated.  He did not imply any of those things, and if you go back and actually read the article carefully instead of jumping to the conclusion that the author is proposing that iPads be used at the dinner table, you will actually understand what you read.  Television is regurgitated education when it’s at its best, and pure evil most of the time.  So much better to have kids doing something truly interactive (TV is just not).  You should re-read the article when you are in a better mood and have had some coffee.

  • Sarah Montgomery Calatayud

    Very nicely stated, and an excellent response to the silliness and short-sightedness of some of these comments!  Your household sounds just like ours. 

  • Sarah Montgomery Calatayud

    Oh, goodness, you really want anyone to take your opinion seriously after that awful opening line?  Get with it and be a grown up.  How old are you anyway, 16?  No, sorry, I know many 16 year olds who handle themselves with more comportment than this (do you know the definition of that word, actually?).  Get up on the right side of the bed tomorrow and have some respect for anyone’s opinion but yours.

  • Sarah Montgomery Calatayud

    Too bad you clearly missed the entire point of the article, Lil.  

  • Sarah Montgomery Calatayud

    Where exactly did you read the author stating that kids should come to the dinner table with their iPads?  I think you missed the point.  

  • jimmysilvs

    you’re right. the irrational conclusions weren’t implied in the article, they were directly stated. thanks for clearing that up!

  • Sarah Montgomery Calatayud

    You forgot the coffee part.

  • Sarah Montgomery Calatayud

    Exactly, Victor.  It’s an excellent learning tool.  I wish I had not watched so much garbage on TV when I was growing up, and had had one of these instead.  And I did get enough outside time and exercise on the gymnastics team.  And I read voraciously.  But I still saw way too many hours of “The Brady Bunch”, “Gilligan’s Island”, and “The Love Boat”.  The iPad definitely has its place in families that know how to use it well for their children.  

  • ed Kerr

    Thank you! I don’t have to add to this discussion, I guess i just did. anyway, well said.

  • djvetta

    Well, if the kids are going to use your ipad, put it in MyPadBuddy. Touch screen works right through the case.
    Spilled juice, food, sticky fingers…no problem. Only $9.98 on Amazon. Best investment I made for my ipad.

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Mike ElganMike Elgan writes about technology and culture for a wide variety of publications. Follow Mike on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

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Posted in iPad, Top stories |