My children have had their iPads for a couple of years now, and doing my due diligence… I disabled Safari, downloads, YouTube, Siri, Messaging and Facetime PLUS enabled very strict parental restrictions. I quickly learned that if my children had access to these things it could pose a serious safety hazard. I also discovered that my sweet children would text Grandma and Grandpa 80 times in a row without me knowing it, so I did the world a favor and restricted these options. A few weeks ago something happened on my son’s iPad and all of a sudden he had access to Messaging again. I discovered it when a cute little message popped up on my screen while I was heading into my outside office to check on something.
What I discovered next blew me away! Make sure to pin this post for later!
Should kids have cell phones or iPads? What are the risks?
A lot of parents I have met refuse to allow their children access to any personal devices. They are worried about safety, privacy, and fostering an addiction to technology. These are valid concerns and ones that are worth considering! There is no question that getting outside and interacting with others is paramount to a healthy childhood! With the amount of screentime we as adults are faced with, it is no wonder we are worried our children will become addicted to their devices.
Online safety is a huge concern and one that must be addressed head on. Should kids have cell phones or iPads if there are no safety controls or parent involvement? We live in a world where everything is at our fingertips and we cannot afford to be naiive or make assumptions about what are children are or are not doing online. If we are considering getting our kids a device, we HAVE to acquaint ourselves with the tools we have to protect them. We have to screen and test every game we download for them and always be aware of the risks.
Should kids have cell phones or iPads? What are the benefits?
After receiving this text from my son, he and I sat down and discussed Messaging. We talked about proper “etiquette” and appropriate times and amounts of texting. We talked about how *most of the time* texting should make sense, not just 500 emoji’s in a row! We decided to give him a trial period with access to a choice set of people to see how he did. During this time, we also decided to enable Messaging on my 7 year old’s iPad. I honestly couldn’t believe what started to happen.
My kids started to write, spell, read, and interact! They couldn’t wait to get on their iPads and send mommy a text that they needed help with something. They loved reading the little notes I would send them while they were working on their school or while they were in the middle of a game. Reading and Writing and Spelling were all of a sudden not a chore… but simply a tool that allowed them to do something they desperately wanted to do! They didn’t even notice how much their writing improved. I would send gentle reminders when something didn’t make sense or how to spell the word correctly and they wouldn’t make the same mistake again! We were connecting in a way that made sense to them and everything else just seemed to flow naturally.
The reality is my friends, that we are raising our children in a new culture. We can give our kids a head start in life by teaching them to type, to text, to code, to e-mail, to blog, to express themselves! My two year old knows how to unlock my phone and flip through to find the game she wants to play! My three year old can easily use the computer mouse and keyboard to play her school game online! Now, I’m not in any hurry to rush out and get my children a cell phone (I mean, they’re homeschooled, where are they going to go?). However, I am finding some amazing benefits and ways we can use their iPads to supercharge their learning (without them even knowing it!).