Children’s Tablets Review: The Electronic Baby Sitter Wises Up
“There are new gadgets that are brushing up on their electronic baby sitting skills. These tables don’t come not just with protective covers but walled gardens of content—parents aren’t left having to figure everything out for themselves. These are also full-fledged Android tablets, not toys. Tablets have the potential to turn children into zombies, but there’s evidence touch screens can help develop young minds, too. It requires a holistic view: exposure to the right apps, in the right amount, for each child’s needs.”
The tablet has become a staple of the American tween’s life, just five years after its invention. But can a tablet be a guilt-free baby sitter?
I found out, by putting the latest youth-targeted tablets to the test.
A survey released Tuesday by the nonprofit family advocacy group Common Sense Mediafinds Americans age 8 to 12 spend an average of an hour each day using a tablet. Add to that the time these children spend playing games and videos on smartphones and iPods, and it eclipses even the time they spend in front of a TV. Call them Generation Touchscreen.
The tablet transition is stressing out moms and dads. “Parents like to make themselves feel guilty,” says Common Sense’s research director Michael Robb. They fret about limiting tablet screen time, which is harder to monitor than TVs used in common rooms. And some families share one iPad that mixes grown-up apps and open Web browsers with child-appropriate fare. A common nightmare begins, “Junior just Googled what?”
Tablets have the potential to turn children into zombies, but there’s evidence touch screens can help develop young minds, too. It requires a holistic view: exposure to the right apps, in the right amount, for each child’s needs.