Us twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings are raising kids in a much different world than what our parents had to work with. Home computers weren’t really affordable when I was young. I hadn’t even encountered a computer until I got to play The Oregon Trail in school on the Apple II for crying out loud.
Right now I have an iPad Air 2, a couple of Samsung Galaxy S5’s and a MacBook Pro. Times have changed.
When our daughter arrived a couple years ago, she was instantly exposed to technology the minute the flash from my smartphone went off in her face and she was immortalized on Facebook. Fast-forward to today. Our daughter is more than familiar of how to use the iPad. She knows exactly where her games, apps and movies are and how to use or view them. This is a testament to the simple touch and swipe mechanics of today’s tablets.
Should you introduce your child to smartphones and tablets?
Computers, tablets and smartphones are very addictive. One might argue that they are more addictive than TV. However, I believe a child is more likely to learn from a tablet instead of a TV. A TV doesn’t provide the hands-on interaction a child (or anyone for that matter) needs to learn. So the next time your child asks you for the iPad, let them use it. With good supervision they can be a great teaching tool.
Now that you have no reason to deny your kid a tablet, what tablet should you buy? There are tons of tablets available that are kid specific. Don’t waste your time and money on these. Follow this old cooking rule: Don’t cook with a wine that you wouldn’t drink. Therefore, don’t buy a tablet you wouldn’t want to use.
Below are three great tablet choices for you and your child.
1. iPad Air 2
The iPad Air 2 is going to cost you a little more simply because it’s an Apple product. But Apple’s Guided Access is going to save your sanity. Apple pawns this feature off as a focus enhancer, but it’s really a kids mode in disguise.
Guided Access features:
- Keep your child from switching between apps
- Block portions of the screen from being clicked
- Disable the hardware buttons
Plus, you have over 1.2 million apps and games available to you through Apple’s App Store.
2. Samsung Galaxy Tab S
Samsung’s new flagship tablet comes in two flavors. You will need to decide if you need a 10.5″ screen or if an 8.4″ screen will be enough. Regardless of the version you choose, the internals are very powerful and identical.
Samsung’s Kids Mode is similar to Amazon’s FreeTime.
Kids Mode includes:
- Edit your child’s profile
- Set time limits for your kids
- Monitor Kids Mode activity, for example, apps used
- Add existing apps and games to Kids Mode
- Add existing media to Kids Mode (music, videos and photos)
After Android 5.0 Lollipop arrives, this will be the must-have tablet. Google is embracing flat design like Apple did with iOS 8 and it looks terrific!
3. Kindle Fire HDX
Amazon has been releasing quality tablets since their first Kindle Fire tablet released in 2011. Their 2014 Kindle Fire HDX continues to impress with powerful insides, top-notch instant support and innovative parenting features like Amazon FreeTime.
Each child can have their own profile with Amazon’s FreeTime. You choose what apps, games, videos and books are available. When FreeTime starts, the background color will change to blue and a kid-friendly font replaces the default.
With Amazon FreeTime, parents set daily limits for their children. If you just want to limit game usage or any other category, no problem. Restricting certain categories (like games or apps) can be 100% customized.
Buy your kid a tablet. They are going to be exposed to them one way or another.
When you go to buy a tablet, do not waste your money on a kid-only tablet. Buy a full-featured tablet that has excellent parenting features like the Apple iPad Air 2, Amazon Kindle Fire HDX or Samsung Galaxy Tab S.
Do you think it’s alright for your kid/s to use a tablet regularly? Please share in the comments below.