Pacifying kids with iPads

Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine in the US found that children need to find ways of self-regulating their feelings rather than masking them with distracting programmes or games. Dr Jenny Radesky, clinical instructor in Developmental-Behavioural Pediatrics at Boston University, said: “Mobile devices are everywhere and children are using them more frequently at young ages. The impact these mobile devices are having on the development and behaviour of children is still relatively unknown. “It has been well-studied that increased television time decreases a child’s development of language and social skills. Mobile media use similarly replaces the amount of time spent engaging in direct human-human interaction. “If these devices become the predominant method to calm and distract young children, will they be able to develop their own internal mechanisms of self-regulation?” Researchers reviewed the latest interactive media in a commentary for the journal Paediatrics. Some early studies found that interactive media, such as electronic books and learn-to-read applications can be useful in teaching vocabulary and reading comprehension, but only in children preschool-age or older.

There has long been a debate around children using iPads – particularly since the introduction of them into schools – as a tool for education.

With this introduction of technology, the image of the classroom has changed from students reading and scribbling notes from their textbook to furiously typing and swiping away at a screen as they Google the answer.

Many of the critics see children (and adults) constantly staring at a screen as mind numbing, while others believe they can be a great educational tool.
This has brought on a new debate; should they stop being used in schools?

So what are the pros and cons of your child using an iPad, both in and out of the classroom?

Pro – “Children with tablets show better signs of development than with books” Some Scientists believe children should be given iPads as soon as they are born.
New research by the University of London says they provide more sensory stimulation for babies than books do.

Con – Using iPads to pacify young children may harm their development – children who are handed iPads to calm them down, will struggle with their emotional development, because they will not learn how to control their emotions. Children should be given time to calm down on their own rather than being distracted by tablets.

Pro – Apps – there are thousands of educational apps, with new ones becoming available all the time, for every subject, age, learning style and ability. These apps allow children to learn in a fun and interactive way – therefore making learning enjoyable as well as memorable.

Con – Apps – there is an app for everything, which means alongside the educational apps there are a lot of games. The worry is that kids will sit and stare at the screen for hours on end, rather than take part in physical activities, creative play or face-to-face social interaction.

Pro – iPads are a great way for children, particularly those with autism, to improve their communication, motor and cognitive skills.

Con – They stop children thinking for themselves – rather than having to work out the answer to their questions, they can simply type them in and be provided with all the answers in seconds. This could then be copied and pasted straight into answers without them having to write it themselves.

Pro – However, this access to information means they have a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips!

Con – They are an expensive item to provide for school children – a cost that can be added to when something goes wrong, which we know with technology it can – especially when it is in the hands of young children! However, this doesn’t need to be a con when you can repair your ipad, whatever the issue, in a matter of hours!

There will always be those for and against innovative ways of raising and teaching children. However, with the pros seeming to outweigh the cons, this highlights that if used in the right way, iPads can be a great tool to help children with their education, whilst making it fun at the same time.


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