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Monday, November 7, 2011

iPads: Digital Pacifiers?

Parenting by iPad; Godsend or iBribery? | ZDNet

We’ve all seen it, the family at a restaurant, parents engaged in normal conversation while the kinds stare quietly at the screens of their iPads, touching, swiping and pinching the time away. Let’s be very clear, you can replace the word “iPad” in the above sentence above with virtually any form of flat screen media (Gameboy, DS, PSP) — it’s not the media that’s at issue, it’s the underlying principle.

The AP article by Rasha Madkour Squirmy toddler? There’s an app was syndicated to print newspapers across the U.S. and it profiled parents that use their iOS devices as “digital pacifiers” for their kids.

A Denver mom calls her iPhone a “godsend” for its ability to stream episodes of Dora the Explorer which placates her two year-old daughter. While discussing the routine she mentions that she “doesn’t want people to think they’re using technology to shut their child up, but she also doesn’t want to give up going out.”

A New Orleans mom says that her iPad “is movies, books and games all wrapped in one nice package,” noting that it keeps her 3-year-old son “busy for hours.” A Silicon Valley mom says that her 2 1/2-year-old loves conceptual apps, memory matching games and a drawing program but also notes that he has books, crayons and Legos. “It’s not replacing any of these things; it’s one more thing he’s getting exposed to,”

The potential benefit of iPhones and iPads for young children is obvious, they’re undeniably powerful learning tools — but as Wake Forest University psychology professor Deborah Best notes in the article — content must be age-appropriate and designed for learning. In other words, Angry Birds doesn’t cut it.

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