Kids Love iPads – But Must Not Overuse Them, Experts Warn

The iPad was touted by Apple as being “magical.” If any consumer is apt to take that description literally, it would be a child. To a kid, the iPad is just about the coolest thing ever. It’s a thousand games in one, for starters, and the whole touchscreen factor is an incredible novelty for curious hands.

But the saying “too much of a good thing” applies here. Experts suggest that, while the iPad can be an educating and liberating toy for children to learn and explore with, their time on the device must be restricted.

At a New York panel titled “Baby Brains and Video Games,” Warren Buckleitner, editor of Children’s Technology Review, said of children that “you can’t pull [iPads] from their hands.” It’s the parents’ responsibility to exercise reasonable control, because the kids won’t know when to stop on their own.

15% of kids aged three to eight in North America and Britain use their parents’ iPad, according to a late 2011 survey. And 9% have their own iPad.

And why not? 77% of parents believe tablets are beneficial to their children, citing benefits such as helping to develop creativity.

But researchers have warned that tablets may spur mental problems such as autism and attention deficit disorder, according to The Province. However, these conclusions have not been verified.

Still, Rosemarie Truglio, from the children’s TV producers Sesame Workshop, says “it’s about balance.” Tablets are new to the mass market, and thus  there isn’t much science behind their affects, but Rosemarie suggests that the technology “fosters some things and dampens others.” 

Lisa Guernsey, director of the Early Education Initiative at the New American Foundation, affirms that for those believing the iPad can trigger mental problems must differentiate “between a cause and an association.”