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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Yes, You Can Play on the iPad

My kids have a technology addiction. Well, my older ones do. I am completely frustrated by this fact, even though I know I haven't had much influence over this addiction. (From what I hear, they were pretty screen addicted even in their native country.) And for several reasons I won't go into here, screens are just preferable over most other options for my adopted kiddos. And boy, is it ever harder to change an existing habit, or preference in someone, than it is to help guide those habits and preferences right from the beginning.

We don't forbid screen time, but we do try to limit it. It tends to not get turned on during the week because we are so busy with other things, but the weekends require the more heavy monitoring.

But there is one screen in our house that I don't mind the kids using as much; it's our iPad. We just recently purchased an iPad, and one of the main reasons for this purchase was to help make learning more appealing to, and fun for, our kids. We loaded it up with learning games and books and unveiled it.

The kids were initially thrilled about the purchase, but when they discovered that it didn't have all the junk games on it that they love so much on our iPhones (and that don't get to play anymore, because I'm tired of constantly being asked for my phone), it lost a little bit of it's initial appeal.

One of our criticisms of the iPad is that you can't really put restrictions on it, or have separate users like you can on a typical computer. So if my husband or I want to put a junk game on iPad for us, the kids end up seeing it and wanting to play it too. It's kind of maddening.

Despite it's drawbacks, if I can use something they're addicted to (screens), to help foster a love of reading, and to make reading and learning more appealing, I think it is a completely appropriate tool for them to have monitored access to.

Our favorite children's book for the iPad is The Monster At the End of This Book. The Tale of Peter Rabbit probably comes in at a close second. I have included some photos of My Little Reader and his cousins being read to on the iPad by their Papa.

I'm wondering what your thoughts are on iPads and eReaders. Like 'em? Hate 'em? What are your favorite books and educational apps?

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