Tablets are valuable learning tools for children that provide access to a multitude of educational games, activities and more. With a tablet, children can explore the solar system, hone their math skills or read about ancient history right from the palm of their hand. Learning to use a tablet also prepares children to use this technology in school and eventually in the workplace.
A recent survey from Common Sense Media revealed that tablet use among children continues to grow. In 2011, less than 1% of children age 8 or younger had their own tablet device. In 2017, this percentage rose to 42% of young children having their own tablet. Knowing how to use a tablet correctly is an important skill for children to develop, but, what is the right age to introduce a child to a tablet?
This piece will offer guidance for parents and teachers about when and how to introduce children to tablets safely and effectively.
Parents use tablets to educate and entertain their children. Tablets can help keep kids occupied while parents do chores or provide supplemental education for what kids are learning in school. However, giving a child to a tablet too early may be damaging to their development. Similarly, allowing a child to use a tablet whenever and however they want can also lead to an unhealthy relationship with technology. Here are a few tips for parents for striking the right balance when introducing children to tablets:
During the first few years of life, interaction with the environment is critical to child development. In these early years, children learn how to interpret facial expressions, decipher language and otherwise interact with their physical world. When children are absorbed in technology instead of observing their surroundings, they may miss out during this important developmental stage.
The best time to introduce a child to a tablet is when they are at least 2 years old. Children aged 2 or older can benefit from the educational aspect of tablets, without hindering their social development. However, the perfect age to introduce a child to a tablet depends on the individual child and their social development. Some parents may choose to wait until their child is in preschool to allow them to use a tablet.
Parents can make the most of their children's tablet time by choosing educational games and activities for them to play. Educational apps for children help them develop their reasoning skills, critical thinking, memory, creativity and much more. Here are a few examples of beneficial educational tablet activities for kids:
Tablet games and activities are fun and exciting, which keeps kids focused and engaged. When kids are absorbed in what they are learning, they are more likely to retain that knowledge and be motivated to keep learning.
In addition to providing educational value, the best tablet apps for kids will also be age-appropriate. Most apps and games have an age rating listed, which can help parents choose what is appropriate for their children. Kids will get the most out of educational tablet games that match their current knowledge and interests.
Parent supervision while children use tablets helps facilitate more meaningful interactions with the device and the content. Parents can answer questions, help the child use the device correctly and provide supplementary information to enhance comprehension and learning. By pointing out different aspects of the activity and encouraging engagement, parents help their child get the greatest benefit out of their tablet time. Playing tablet games with children also gives parents an opportunity to demonstrate good sportsmanship.
Young children who are still learning how to use technology responsibly typically require more supervision than older children. Parents may extend more freedom to their children as they grow. Once a child demonstrates that they can use the tablet safely, they may be allowed to use it independently in a common space where they can be monitored. For preteens and teenagers, parents may allow fully independent tablet use but can check the tablet browsing history if they are concerned about inappropriate tablet use.
Setting time limits for children's tablet use ensures kids do not become too dependent on technology for entertainment. Looking at a digital screen for an extended period may also cause eye strain or long-term damage to eyesight. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children between age 2 and 5 have just one hour of screen time per day. As children get older and begin using tablets to complete school-related activities, this time limit may be extended.
Parents can enforce time limits for tablet use by monitoring their children's tablet time or by setting time-out limits on the tablet itself. Most tablets allow parents to set a time limit for usage after which the tablet will lock so the child can no longer play on it.
Different types of tablets offer different control features that can restrict the content kids view and what they can do on their tablet. Parental controls ensure kids are only viewing appropriate content and games. Here are a few ideas for implementing parental controls on a tablet:
Parents can try out different tablet control options to determine which option works best for their family.
Tablets are a useful tool in the classroom that can help reinforce concepts and increase student engagement. When children experience content in an engaging and relevant way, this may boost retention and increase students' motivation to learn. Here are a few tips to maximize the benefits of using tablets in school:
When teachers introduce tablets to students in a safe and effective way, they can serve as a valuable educational tool that enhances student learning and retention.
Both parents and teachers must educate children about proper internet safety when introducing children to tablets. In addition to setting controls that restrict what content kids can access online, parents and teachers should also set clear expectations regarding appropriate online behavior and clearly communicate the risks of internet use.
Use these online kids safety tips when teaching children how to use the internet on their tablet safely:
By talking openly about online safety, parents and teachers create a safe space for kids to share any concerns they have about things they encounter online. If kids encounter a threatening situation online, they are more likely to share this with their parent or teacher when open communication is established.
Another important element of introducing a child to a tablet is protecting the device itself from damage. Many modern tablets are built with fragile glass screens and lightweight bodies that are prone to damage from drops and spills. Parents can protect against costly damage or breakage of tablets by choosing a tablet that is designed for kids. Kid-friendly tablets are constructed with more durable plastic that is shock-resistant and will not be damaged from drops.
Durable tablet cases can also be used to keep a tablet safe for kid-friendly use. Constructed with shock-resistant materials, tablet cases for children help cushion the device if it is dropped and protect the screen from scratches. The best rugged tablet cases for kids may also include features like ergonomic edges for easy gripping and straps that make the tablet easier to hold while moving around.
Tablets and tablet cases designed for children also include other kid-friendly features that make it easier for children to learn to use the tablet properly. Here are a few elements to look for when choosing a tablet and tablet case for a child:
If you are ready to introduce your children or students to tablets, Higher Ground has everything you need to protect your investment with the best rugged iPad and tablet cases on the market. As a leader in innovative case solutions for a range of mobile devices, Higher Ground offers durable child-proof cases for tablets and iPads. Constructed with high-quality materials and backed by a lifetime warranty, Higher Ground's kids iPad and tablet cases are built for lasting protection.
Higher Ground's tablet and iPad cases for kids also feature ergonomic designs that make them easier for small hands to hold. Higher Ground's PROTEx cases are equipped with a silicone X-strap on the back that allows children, teachers and parents to hold the device comfortably and operate it without risk of drops. The beveled edges of Higher Ground's tablet and iPad cases for elementary schools also make the device easier to grip, while providing exceptional shock absorption.
When you buy kids tablet cases from Higher Ground, you'll also enjoy unparalleled customer service from our knowledgeable and friendly staff. Give us a call at 888-662-4300 for more information about our kids tablet case solutions or request a free sample to experience the quality of Higher Ground's rugged tablet cases for yourself.