Did you know that most 2-year old kids can use tablets and enjoy developmental benefits?


Back in the old days, before powerful computers were too big to fit inside a self-contained device the size of a textbook (or less!), kids wanted toys. Regular toys, made mostly out of plastic and not having anything digital at all about them. Action figures, super soakers, RC vehicles, LEGO robots, that kind of good stuff. Oh, there was the GameBoy (and its various generations), of course, but bar that delightful exception, the land of toys used to be an analog world. Then, tablets showed up, and if your five-year old still hasn't got one, it's surely throwing a tantrum at every opportunity! We understand — for a kid, today's colorful, dynamic mobile games probably represent the pinnacle of childhood fun. Well, they are certainly cooler than Action Man figures!

One interesting question that isn't approached very often is how come kids that have barely learned to hold a spoon are able to get around Android and iOS like they invented them, while some adults are completely baffled by the operating systems' intuitive, user-friendly interfaces. Coming up with a solid answer to that would be rather complicated, but nevertheless, the fact remains that children as young as 2 years old are using tablets.

A study led by pediatrics researcher Deirdre Murray at the College Cork University in Ireland has concluded that by age 2, many kids can unlock and navigate touchscreens with ease. As the regular use of smartphones and tablets has become widespread, children as young as 1 have access to mobile computers, and their parents are using the opportunity to educate and entertain their beloved offspring with apps and games made specifically for toddlers or youngsters.

Addressing the study, Dr. Larry Rosen of California State University D. Hills suggested the potential benefits of smartphone and tablet usage among children. As touchscreens have proven so accessible to toddlers, mobile devices might be helpful in assessing or aiding their development. Likewise, apps and games could help foster communication skills in non-verbal children or kids with certain cognitive (or developmental) disorders.

But it's not just the youngsters who can benefit from smartphone and tablet ownership. Parenting is tough business, so being able to make a 2-year old ball of energy and joy sit down and concentrate its attention on whatever's happening on the touchscreen could provide a welcome moment of relief to many adults. However, Dr. Rosen insists that parents who let children use mobile devices must make sure that screen time is dosed in moderation and shouldn't take away from social activities. He also recommends that the apps they use are educational, involve parental play time, are not used for more than 30 minutes at a time.

Are your children spending their leisure time with a tablet? What model is it, and how is it going for you and them?

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15 Comments

1. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Yes, yes I did. I wish I would have got my other kids started a little sooner, my 4yr old knows how to use a device just as good as my parents if not better.

2. obedchuni

Posts: 336; Member since: Jun 16, 2014

yes those days, gameboys really was a pinnacle of the technology and we enjoyed it a lot.

3. buccob

Posts: 2973; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

My 4y/o recently received an Amazon tablet kids edition and it is fantastic for his usage. There are many quality educational games and he also enjoys movies, and does it all by himself.

4. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

I know its good, but only if their parent keep supervise them, and give them some good educational app.. but if their parent just give them tabs, and let them do whatever they want, just wait unti they get addicted to it, and start learning something weird, or draining your money via in-app-purchase :D

5. ph00ny

Posts: 2051; Member since: May 26, 2011

Except most of these kids will end up with glasses even before they start 1st grade.

6. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Yes!!

7. Mr.Mr.Upgrade

Posts: 474; Member since: Aug 30, 2011

Last 3 comments are from people without kids and still staying with their parents or living off them.

8. sukampret

Posts: 36; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

i am a big kid, or old kid

9. andynaija

Posts: 1261; Member since: Sep 08, 2012

Yes they can, but also their eyes have to be put into consideration as well. Moderation is definitely key in this kind of situation.

10. AlikMalix unregistered

I removed safari, app store, and disabled all IAP's by restricting internet in the Restrictions menu - so nothing pops up even if they find the IAP buttons. I've also removed iTunes, Apple Music, iBooks Store, Podcasts, News, ability to install and delete apps. Set all content to clean and G rated. And restricted the ability to add/change contacts, share photos or change location tracking to allow only myself and my wife to track the ipad. So even if the internet is fully enabled they cannot get out from the games and apps themselves. So it's as safe as a gameboy, but as versatile as a full tablet. If I want to use the iPad - just disable Restrictions (there's a toggle to disable all at once - password required) - and the iPad is fully yours. Best games for a 3-5 year olds are Exploration (minecraft type game but without scary stuff), PBS Kids, Nitro (from Z2), among others are the most creativity and interactive I've seen. My kid has been using the iPad since she was 1.5 yrs old. These things are perfect - she learned her abc's and counting, colors, and shapes mostly from apps. Now I got her hooked on my native language apps - where she's already picking up basic words. The best way to limit kids is to set a timer when you give them one "Siri, set timer for 45 minutes" and give it to them. Timer goes off - must insist that they give it up - they get used to it and after short while willingly bring the ipad back. Just thought those that have kids will be interested in my set up... if you got questions - ask... PS. Do not install YouTube Kids - you cannot block certain content and your kid will easily come across crap that's really scary and will keep them up all night!!! Biggest regret I've ever downloaded - Google should know better!

12. gersont1000

Posts: 473; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

That seems like a lot of work. I achieve the same by using the "Kids Place - Parental Control" app from kiddoware (Android, don't know if it's on Apple AppStore). I can have several profiles, and each profile can have different settings. You can lock the home button so that a press of it will go back to the app home screen with all the apps. You can choose which apps will show up, and can choose which apps can use WiFi. You can also set a timer (I think it locks up the phone after the time is up). But I definitely am trying to keep down the usage of any tablet or phone. I'd like to limit it to 1 1/2 hours at most a day. I'm afraid that using them too much will hurt my kid's eyes and will hinder from the development of motor skills which old school toys will help with. And yes, the phone and tablet has definitely helped my kid to learn many things like ABCs, numbers and even reading some words. The Endless series of apps (Endless Reader Alphabet, Numbers, Reader, Wordplay) are great (although expensive to get extras).

13. AlikMalix unregistered

You only set that up once. And then just toggle the setup restrictions on and off with on toggle. I can block the start button or any part of the screen with trippleclick (which can also be set up one time and activated anytime quickly). But I realized all the apps require Internet and blocking wifi will disable most of the functions - I just restrict all the buttons that take you out of the app like iap and external links to dev websites or to try other apps, by setting up to remove safari when restrictions are activated. I've seen the parental controls on android tablets, it's a bit to general and I prefer complete control over every aspect of the apps that include app permissions.

11. pegasso

Posts: 285; Member since: Nov 27, 2011

IMHO letting your baby playing with gadget is not a good idea. i have a niece and she has learned playing with iphone since she was 1yo. she's 5yo now and she's addicted to her iphone and become more and more socially awkward.

14. AlikMalix unregistered

You have to limit the time from beginning. I set up timer and teach her to give up on her own volunterily otherwise they get no iPad for the next day or w/e. In the early years when she was 2 we would keep the battery low on purpose - let it die in an hour, she would cry but quickly understand that "there's nothing we can do". Few days later we just lock the screen and she just gives it up assuming it's dead. Now she just gives it up when timer goes off - volunterily - that's what you want - you want to train them to give it up when you tell them it's enough. Works like a charm.

15. larrybay

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 19, 2016

I allow my five-year daughter to spend some time with a tablet. Of course I'm very surprised by her abilities: she already can Google things and search for pictures online. Of course, I block harmful content with Pumpic for her, so that all she does is playing developing games and using learning apps. I don't see any harm in kids using tablets. You just need to control the whole thing.

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