What age to introduce tech (tablet or the like)

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  • What age to introduce tech (tablet or the like)
  • neilnevill
    Member

    Our eldest is 4, youngest 2. Neither have ever been given a tablet or such to use at any time, other than once or twice when stuck somewhere we have put iPlayer cbeebies in the phone for the eldest. We’ve driven the phone and supervised the use.
    I’m thinking a little bit of screen use had to come at some point and I’ve an old phone I could put iPlayer and a couple of kids games/activities on to and strip everything else off, and let the eldest start to use it. Am I nuts? Should I relish in the fact she isn’t a digital addict as long as possible?

    Premier Icon stevied
    Subscriber

    Our 2 girls each got a kindle for Christmas last year (got them on a black friday deal for about £35 each).
    They were 6 and 3 at the time. They know how to use them and we’ve set them up on a kid’s account so access is fully controlled by use including screen time, content etc.

    Its unavoidable. The sooner you can teach them good digital habits the better. Ours were all around 3 – 4 when they got kindle fires. They are a great first device as they are very easy to lock down and restrict access.

    TheBrick
    Member

    Ours has had it since too young.

    Premier Icon FuzzyWuzzy
    Subscriber

    Not sure the old phone thing is a good idea – one of the issues I’ve read about with young kids and screen time is the amount of time their eyes are focusing at a short distance and it’s impact on their eye sight development (although no clue if any of this is proven…) but would seem to me giving them something with a very small screen is just going to make the issue worse/more likely to occur. So expensive iPad Pros all round I say :p

    As late as possible IMO.

    neilnevill
    Member

    My gut feel is they won’t miss out if we hold off another year. Although if I can find some simple learning apps… Maybe something to help them practice writing letters. And start with that, then it introduces them to the tech and interacting with a device, is a useful exercise for a few minutes a day, and won’t be so much fun they get addicted to the device.

    That’s if I can find such an app

    kynasf
    Member

    I’d leave it tbh. We gave ours the Amazon kids tablets when they were 6 and 8 I think, but honestly it was more about us getting some downtime (weekend mornings, etc), for an hour or whatever, time to ourselves. Selfish you might argue, but there you are, parents do need a break. I doubt they will miss out if you leave it for another year or two.

    geomickb
    Member

    IMHO Leave it as long as you can.

    My daughter is 4 and I’m dreading her turning into a screen zombie.

    Occasionally she plays with Mummy’s phone, when we need 10 minutes to do something (usually chores!).

    neilnevill
    Member

    I’ll leave it longer then! Good. I feel happy with that

    tomparkin
    Member

    My kids are seven (in a month), four, and 20 months, and none of them have tablets, phones, or computers. They sometimes use our phones or the laptop at home, but not a huge amount.

    My reasoning for this is that:

    1. They’re not missing out on much, really. Yes, IT skills are important, but equally well computers are designed to be easy to use these days, and they do get exposed to technology at school.

    2. The Internet is an inherently risky place. Currently my kids use computers at school, and at home a bit under parental supervision. Giving them their own device would make their use much harder to review.

    3. They spend long enough looking at screens while watching TV. I’d sooner they used their time engaged in creative play, or reading, playing in the garden, whatever. Adding another device to their life is probably just going to add to the amount of time they spend looking at a screen.

    4. In my family, it’d have to be a tablet/phone for at least the eldest two otherwise we’d never hear the end of it 😉 So the level of parental paranoia is probably geared toward the four-year-old rather than the eldest.

    g5604
    Member

    Leave it as long as possible, your kids have the rest of their lives to be slouched over, bathed in blue light. If your kids are actively using their minds, they will have no trouble working out how to paw a screen when they are older.

    kcr
    Member

    I’d say there’s no hurry. Kids will pick up how to use IT in about 5 minutes even they really need to. Introducing it earlier than necessary is just a distraction from acquiring more useful basic skills like reading books, building stuff with your hands. drawing, etc. I think slower, low tech activities that don’t have the instant gratification of screens help kids learn patience and stretch their imagination in ways that screens can’t.
    My eldest is 11 and has had a 2nd hand e-reader (not internet enabled) since she was seven. She’s not missing out because she uses tablets regularly at school, and occasionally gets supervised access to her mum’s Chromebook. Eventually she’ll want her own internet access, but she’s happy with that at the moment.

    butcher
    Member

    I’m mixed on this one.

    From a developmental perspective I’d say as early as possible. It’s technology they will be using for many years to come.

    In terms of giving them a phone or tablet, and letting them get on with it, alone… Never. Not until they’re a good bit older anyway, and only with limited time.

    At such a young age I’d argue 10 minutes a day is more than enough. Once a week even. Kids should be physically engaging with people and play. But it’s also an opportunity to learn about balancing different activities.

    Disclaimer: None of this is based on any evidence, which would actually be interesting to see.

    neilnevill
    Member

    Oh no! I wasn’t thinking of just giving either of them the device! It would be a WiFi only device with app installed by me for them to use in time limited amounts and supervised.

    I feel quite happy with the, ‘not yet” responses though, I agree they get more from physical play and will pick up IT soon enough

    Hey, its the modern world and kids these days are kids of the tech age so no age is too young in my opinion. I think the important bit is to regulate it somehow…easy with Apple stuff as you can set up a time limit, which I’ve done, so the kids know how much per day they can use it. But the world they are going to grow up in is going to be a much higher technology world than us so being comfortable with tech is an important life skill and one they should be introduced to as early as possible in my view.

    Premier Icon GavinB
    Subscriber

    Ours have had access to an older iPad since they were about 5. It’s pretty much locked down so that they can access CBeebies and various educational games (maths ones are pretty cool), as well as watching films on longer journeys. They can’t access t’internet, YouTube etc.

    Pretty easy to set up the restrictions on an iPad, which are then controlled by access via a PIN/fingerprint.

    Content and accessibility to inappropriate content has never really been a concern for me. It’s about brain development. They should be doing social interactive things out in the world and hardwiring social skills with other kids and people, not getting short sighted, messing up their circadian rhythms, developing the attention span of a brain damaged mosquito and requiring stimulation with something new, but banal every 30 seconds.

    A bit like here really 😀

    wzzzz
    Member

    Steve Jobs himself didn’t allow his kids to use iPads of his own invention.

    https://www.popsci.com/industry-insiders-dont-use-their-products-like-we-do/

    Keep them off it as long as is possible.

    Try not to be glued to yours in the presence of your kids.

    3 & 5 for ours, probably wouldn’t have got so young but we had a 6 week, 4k mile road trip over the summer and felt that we were likely to want them as an option to entertain the kids.

    They use them pretty regularly at home, mainly instead of watching TV but for very short periods at a time. We only have one TV in the house and the kids rarely want to watch the same thing, my 3 year old watches various cartoons, while the 6 year old spends most of his time watching every sport going on Red Bull TV.

    It’s Kindle Fire we have and like others have said the parental controls are excellent, you can limit overall daily screen time, and for specific apps or types of apps. You also have complete visibility of absolutely everything they have done, as far as I see it the risk level is zero, unless they happened to guess the admin pass, or I make an error in restrictions when setting up.

    Premier Icon richardkennerley
    Subscriber

    I’m well in the minority here but we got our little one a Kindle fire before she turned 3, not sure exactly when.

    We got it for her to use on the odd occasion we’re out somewhere “boring” for her and she needs occupying, mainly when there’s a long wait for food in a restaurant or the odd time we have a train journey,I guess we were more concerned about bothering other people with a restless toddler.

    It never comes out apart from that and she knows it and we’ll always turn to colouring books and the like before we give her the tablet.

    To be honest, I think it’s crap, there’s a few apps we’ve found that we like, but i find it really clunky and it frustrates the hell out of me so much that it’s more hassle than it’s worth!

    There’s no harm introducing this stuff, just don’t hand it over and let them have free reign, Jess probably has 10 minutes a week on it if that and that’s enough to keep her happy.

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    2. The Internet is an inherently risky place. Currently my kids use computers at school, and at home a bit under parental supervision. Giving them their own device would make their use much harder to review.

    Not with the right monitoring Apps.

    The wifes is dynamic, so if my lad visited sites that are blocked she’d know instantly. Mine is Xbox live so i get a weekly report.

    Happily, my lad has never alerted on any of the devices at all yet. He’s 11 btw.

    Surely no age is too young.

    They are just tools and can be setup however you like. You could just allow access to a drawing or colour in app or something if you wanted.

    I grew up with technology, learnt to program on a Spectrum, Amiga and PC at home.

    It’s kind of sad when people just assume “screen time is bad”.

    mashr
    Member

    Our 2 year old has a Kindle. He spends no more than an hour a week on it, I’ve got no issues with that. Being a Kindle its very locked down, although I find the Fire Kids setup a bit of a riot tbh (better when airplane mode is switched on)

    There was a report on this very thing on German TV yesterday as a report has recently been released by a group of psychologists ( or possibly doctors). They recommend that children under 5 shouldn’t be given electronic devices at all as they claim it actually hinders a child’s development and between the ages of 5-9 children should only use the devices a maximum of 30 min per day and 10-12 year olds a maximum of 60 min per day.

    We have four children and in the past we have tried restricting their use of internet etc by various means but our eldest had figured out a way around all our controls within a few days.

    Premier Icon winston
    Subscriber

    “Try not to be glued to yours in the presence of your kids.”

    This x100

    “It’s kind of sad when people just assume “screen time is bad”.

    Its not assumed. Its proven. Its not like they are learning to code is it. All they are learning to do is consume.

    neilnevill
    Member

    Exactly, it’s consumption. It’s not ‘bad’ but there are often more stimulating things to do.

    With the wife’s parents in Liverpool she periodically takes the girls on the train (and I collect them with the car). She normally does well with a couple of books… Well my eldest loves story books and colouring/drawing. The youngest is more fiesty and doesn’t sit still…TV only occupies her briefly. I may set the is phone up to just have iPlayer and a few cbeebies favourites loaded on it, and try a learning to read and write app… It might help with the journey. Not for the car yet though, both are pukers in the back anyway!

    mashr
    Member

    neilnevill

    Member

    Exactly, it’s consumption.

    or interactive and educational

    Premier Icon winston
    Subscriber

    Most stuff children do on a screen is interactive but very very little is of any real educational value.

    Premier Icon Ben_H
    Subscriber

    Our kids are almost 10 and 7. Neither has much access to screen tech, certainly not their own device.

    They’ve always had a play room with lots of ingredients for “free play”. They tend mostly to play their own imagination games and make a *lot* of dens and “worlds” with things like old boxes, blankets, trinkets, pots, pans, jewellery, stuffed animals, a till, foreign money, board games, calculators, railway tracks, Playmobil etc etc.

    There’s no theory or policy behind this… it just felt right to us, based on our own childhoods. But I know it’s quite a different approach to that which some parents are taking in the post-iPad world.

    The kids do have access to Spotify on our kitchen tablet and occasionally play a maths game that school prompted. They also watch some TV (generally, iPlayer) and seem to navigate internet searches etc from what they’ve learnt at school. We talk regularly about whether it’s more important to work out how to tell the computer what to do, or to use it passively.

    We’ve deliberately gone very slow on screens – not for any particular reason other that it just seems sensible to us to let other parents go first and then learn from them.

    I guess our eldest child is within a couple of years of having her own phone, so this “screen-lite” period will probably come to a close… and it’s hard to see what a screen of her own at an earlier age would have added to her childhood.

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