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Have the iPads and Tablets Become the Modern Babysitter?

Girl playing with iPad

In a decade currently prevailed by millennial parents, technology plays a huge part in every household. The iPad and similar tablets have become one of the essentials in keeping kids busy. Growing up in the digital era has somehow influenced their parenting style. Their consumption of technology has intertwined with their day to day lives. This new generation of kids is now knowledgeable in using iPads and tablets at a young age. It has become the kids’ favorite past-time. Parents quickly adapted and utilized as a means of keeping their kids entertained and up-to-date with new tools for education.

iPad and Tablet Usage Among Children

A recent survey by Nielsen shows that households with tablets or iPads, 77 percent of kids aged 12 and under are able to use them regularly to play games. App developers have come up with numerous kid-friendly favorites. There’s Minion Rush, Angry Birds, and Unicorn Chef, to name a few. It is noticeable how children are able to easily navigate through these games and learn them quickly. The frequency of how much time kids spend playing games on their iPads or tablets determines their proficiency in using the gadgets.

43 percent of kids said that they use their screen time to watch their favorite TV shows and movies, apart from playing games. With numerous sources such as Disney Plus, Netflix Kids, and YouTube, kids never run out of things to watch. Moreover, they are able to watch their favourites repetitively.

Apart from entertainment, there is still 57 percent of kids who use their iPads or tablets to access educational apps. The availability of free learning apps is beneficial for parents, enabling themselves to teach their kids at home in a way that they will enjoy and understand. These educational apps also encourage creativity in kids without making a mess– a plus for both parents and children. Educational apps range from art to maths and reading comprehension for kids and babies.

Have the iPads and Tablets Become the Modern Babysitter?
Parents also encourage kids to use the iPad and tablets for educational purposes

Parents have resorted to iPads and tablets in keeping their little ones preoccupied while they are out of the house. 55 percent of parents said that they use iPads and tablets to entertain their kids especially when they are traveling. Meanwhile, 41 percent said that they bring it to restaurants to keep the kids quiet so they can enjoy a hearty meal. 

Interestingly, only 15 percent said that they use iPads and tablets for communicating with friends and family. This shows that kids mainly use their iPads and tablets primarily as a source of entertainment. They also utilise it highly for educational purposes, on top of its other uses.

Can Babies Use iPads and Tablets?

The rapidly increasing tablet usage among kids isn’t so surprising anymore. In the past holiday season, Nielsen found that nearly 50 percent of kids aged 6 to 12 asked for an iPad as a Christmas present. Thus, dubbing the season “iHoliday”.

Although the holiday study was focused on middle school children, there is another demographic that uses iPads and tablets. Nielsen found that even babies aged 0-2 and kindergarten kids are also playing with iPads. They already figured how to swipe and tap even before learning how to walk. Some of these younger kids even learned how to scribble and draw on an iPad first before pens and markers.

Have the iPads and Tablets Become the Modern Babysitter?
Children aged 0-2 are knowledgable in playing with iPads and tablets

Benefits of iPads and Tablets

A more recent study by Oxford claims that screen time is beneficial for children. Researchers found that kids who spend an hour or two engaging in digital devices such as iPads and tablets tend to have higher levels of emotional and social intelligence, in comparison to kids who do not have screen time. Studies show that positive effects are observed as long as screen time is properly managed and content consumption is monitored. Parents and guardians are encouraged to set certain parameters on their kids’ digital activities. After all, they must be mindful of the child’s digital activities. This can be accomplished by setting a schedule or time limit, and other security controls for accessing apps and websites.

iPads and tablets have become the perfect middle ground between a mobile phone and a laptop. Kids find it easy to navigate and comfortable to watch in given the adequate screen size. Meanwhile, they are portable enough for parents to be able to carry around wherever they go. Cost-wise, thousands of apps that offer free downloads and minimal in-app purchases. The iPads and tablets offer entertainment and educational tools from zero to minimal additional expenses apart from purchasing the gadget.

The convenience iPads and tablets provide parents could somehow equate to the conveniences brought around by a babysitter. This is why in some cases, instead of having an actual babysitter, the iPad has become essential for parents. It has become a primary means to be able to leave their kids steady for a while so they can get things done around the home, enjoy a good meal at a restaurant, and have a peaceful drive during a road trip. Effectively, iPads and tablets engage children through various apps and activities. It can feed their curiosities and keep them entertained. Through managed content, it could also help their intellectual growth and emotional development.

Read more: How to Stay Active and Healthy As a Busy Parent

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