Should You Buy Your Child A Tablet?

Lisa LaGrou

Should You Buy Your Child A Tablet? – My son and daughter are at similar ages and I find myself going through the typical parenting questions in phases all parents reach. When is it OK to leave them home alone? What age should they be allowed to have a smart phone? etc… etc…

Should You Buy Your Child A Tablet?

I purchased a tablet for my kids for Christmas as an extension to their personal computer, growing electronic library of video games (Wii), Nintendo DSI, various hand-held time-passing games and more (still smart phone-free for the moment). I loaded it up with safe-search software and took other precautions to ensure safety and limited the table to prevent crazy app purchases etc. Now, I’m a few months in on the tablet experiment and the device has been a huge headache.

See, my kids don’t necessarily do well with “screen time” and the tablet has been yet another tool for them to lounge around when they could/should be reading, playing outside etc. I’m guessing I’m not on an island when it comes to this problem. My kids are bright, do well in school, do well in athletics and other endeavors… They LOVE to go outside, play sports, whip up a Kool-Aid stand or read BUT that little bit of effort to do those things on their own is somehow missing and they resort to the easy plug-n-play entertainment option more than I care to admit. My kids struggle with the addiction to the lure of electronics and other forms of “screen time.” If I don’t intervene, it’s an endless cycle of “put that tablet away” followed shortly by “put down your Wii remote,” “get off the couch,” “turn off Nickelodeon,” “Do SOMETHING!! ANYTHING ELSE.” You get the idea.

The screen time problem is one I imagine goes back to the 1970’s and spans through today. Now, instead of Pong, Mattel Football, Atari, Nintendo, GameBoys, etc. – it’s tablets and smart phones. Same vice, different means. The crux of the problem is that the technology is SO much better now, the technology addictive factor is through the roof. To quote my husband – “We had 5 channels, they have 500.”

Should You Buy Your Child A Tablet? The tablet itself is great but did I really need ANOTHER device to try to police? Obviously, the perfect scenario is having my kids be responsible enough to check themselves and find a healthy balance of activities to go with their tablet and screen time. But, they’re having a difficult doing that on their own. I’m not a helicopter parent per se, I just know if I didn’t monitor the screen time, my kids would melt into our couch with their tablet. Trust me, I’m not proud to admit that I feel like I have to literally hide the tablet and force my kids to go outside.

Should You Buy Your Child A Tablet? Buying the tablet was just another reminder of how much work goes into limiting screen time – and I’m quite certain I didn’t need another reminder. I’m also quite certain my kids didn’t need another technical device to waste their day away.

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