Toddlers and iPads: Yay or Nay?

Toddler on iPad
Flickr photo by Scott & Elaine van der Chijs
Suri Cruise has an iPad, should your toddler have one too?

More parents are saying yes these days, and even more probably will in the future. Perhaps one day they'll have a spot on preschool supply lists everywhere.

The intuitive devices are an instant hit with toddlers, and they offer a host of benefits, according to AdAge.


The magazine cited a recent study by PBS, which showed that children between 3 to 7 did learn well with an iTouch (a 31 percent improvement in vocabulary was shown with one program), but the iPad is even easier for little ones to use because it requires fewer fine motor skills than the iTouch.

And you may have seen the video of the toddler using an iPad for the first time, which shows just how intuitive and easy to use the devices are for children.  

But an iPad for my 16-month-old daughter?

I don't dispute the value an iPad can offer a child, and I'm not one who believes such devices and things like video games will turn our children's brains to mush. I truly believe electronic devices, even those for very young children, offer challenges well beyond their age level that they wouldn't get otherwise. From them they can learn problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Of course, there needs to be appropriate boundaries and limits set, but I think they can be part of a healthy and educational childhood. I feel the same way about children and television, though I know many disagree.

So, I'm not opposed to the iPad because I fear the damage it could do to my child, rather I fear the damage it could to my budget.

I hesitate to even let my 6-year-old handle my iPhone, not because he doesn't know how to use it, but because it's expensive, and I don't want to replace it if he drops it. And the iPad, starting at $499, is even more expensive. So while my toddler daughter may figure out how to use the iPad just fine, when she grows bored of it, it very likely could be sent crashing across the room as she practices her throwing skills.

Sure, there are protective cases and the like, but until someone like Fisher-Price develops a toddler-tough version, my daughter won't be getting one ... especially before I do!

If you do decide to shell out the cash, here's a good list of iPad apps for toddlers.

Do you think toddlers should have iPads?

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