Children are learning how to embrace technology at younger and younger ages. While parents don’t always buy iPads for their one-year-olds, it is easy to see why they do. Interactive games and learning exercises can help toddlers develop a love for education early on. But how much is too much? Is it better to invest in a child-friendly toy tablet or one loaded with features?
Introducing Children to Technology
It’s hard to avoid technology in the modern world. Your child will likely see a funny YouTube video or play an online game before they go to preschool. That doesn’t mean they should be given full access to the Internet or use technology unsupervised.
The biggest concern when it comes to using a laptop or tablet is safety. You don’t want your toddler exploring all the apps on your personal tablet, yet you don’t want them to select their own. Introducing your child to technology on a device that allows for multiple users is a great stepping stone. You won’t have to worry about them gaining access to your personal files. Instead, you’ll be teaching them basic computer skills like selecting a user or clicking on the game they want to play.
Baby Tablets Teach Basic Skills
Baby tablets can also be a great way to introduce your children to technology with very little effort. Toddlers as young as 9 months can start using tablets designed specifically for them. Most of the baby tablets on the market are educational, teaching children basic letters, numbers, or shapes.
Advanced toddler tablets are a good choice for parents who want something more realistic than a plastic toy. More advanced tablets use apps and offer the same styles as their grown-up counterparts. Kindle Fire Kids Edition tablets are a great example, as these can be suitable for children of all ages and offers thick padding. Children can choose from a long list of kid-friendly apps, making them feel like they are in charge of their device.
When Should a Child Graduate from a Kids Edition?
There is a lot of debate about when children should get real laptops or tablets of their own. Personally, I feel it depends on the child. If the child is mature and eager to learn new things, a fully-functional laptop or tablet could be the answer. Many schools recommend young students have access to a computer at home, so investing in a practical model is inevitable.
If you are choosing a laptop for an eight or nine-year-old, try selecting a simple, low-cost model. Chromebooks, for example, are perfect for typing and schoolwork. They are a small investment when compared to other laptops, so you won’t feel as bad if it becomes outdated, broken, or lost. Just remember to install parental blocks!
Things to Consider Before You Buy a Children’s Laptop
The younger the child is, the more damage the laptop or tablet is going to have to put up with. That’s why most tablets designed for young children come with big, bulky cases. Before giving a new device to the child, have them use it for a while with your supervision. Demonstrate proper behaviors, such as putting away the tablet or keeping it away from coloring areas.
You should also consider the investment cost. Most children will require updated laptops or tablets when they enter middle school. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that a laptop will last your child a good decade; most modern laptops are replaced every three to five years!
Your children should be introduced to technology as soon as possible. If you choose to invest in a tablet, choose a device that is age appropriate and offers features the child can use.