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Should we really be targeting pre-schoolers with educational apps fronted by celebrities?

3 years ago

1 expert and 6 parents have answered

Humberto Neves
Humberto Neves Ardozia Founder Lisbon, Portugal

Great question.

I believe iPad and other touch devices used by children should be evaluated by their content. They should be faced the same way other objects children use daily. The responsibility and assurance of the best way to use them are from parents, and here is were is fails. Some parents overuse these devices to have free time, forgetting that playing with their children's are the most important.

I also think parents can have much more control on what their children consume with these devices than with TV. When comparing digital toys with physical ones we must the aware that they provide different experiences of playing, reading, thinking about, The way they understand concepts from physical toys or books, and digital environments are different.

8 Reply Share:
Experience 3 years ago
expert answer
Linda Breneman expert
Linda Breneman Managing Ed., Pixelkin.org Seattle, US
Gaming expert

The celebrity thing is troubling, and some experts are saying any screen time for kids under 2 is bad, but we shouldn't forget that IPads and other technologies can be amazingly helpful for kids with autism. Not all kids and families are the same.

6 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
Josh Caine
Josh Caine Father of one Plainfield, US

I also disagree with the comment about not allowing toddlers to play with tablets. Just like anything your toddler does you have to be a responsible parent and limit the amount of time using it. For example, if my child is playing a game on the iPad that shows animals, makes the sound the animal makes when he touches it, and then says the animal name, I see no problem with that. He is limited in the amount of time he is allowed to play these games, and yes, he sometimes fusses when I take it away, but he also fusses if I take away any toy he isn't ready to be done with.

Why limit the educational tools available I say.

Of course, everyone has the right to raise their children however they please, it doesn't mean they are wrong. Look at the Amish, I hear their kids don't have iPads, computers, or TVs in the house, but in my experience they make some great furniture and apple butter!

6 Reply Share:
Experience 3 years ago
Kelly Rose Bradford writer
Kelly Rose Bradford Journalist and broadcaster London, GB

I don't think we should be targeting pre-schoolers with technology at all – little can compete with the rage I feel when spotting a toddler clutching an iPad – yet when apps are fronted by familiar faces lulling parents into a sense of security as to their educational value, is it any surprise they buy in?

In the UK, Cbeebies star Justin Fletcher has just launched an app aimed at under-fours, and without laying all the blame at his door, I will use him as an example of all that is wrong with toddler tech.

When you go to Fletcher's website the subtle 'reassurances' begin: 'Justin Fletcher, the nation's favourite pre-school entertainer!' the welcome screen offers.

But it's the sell that really reinforces why I disapprove of apps aimed at pre-school kids.

'Available for iPhone and iPad, whenever you want some quality time with your child, or simply need a break, Justin’s World are the perfect apps to play.'

Call me old-fashioned, but quality time with my child involves the park, wrestling on the living room rug or making a tent from a duvet. It does not involve my iPhone or iPad.

And as for 'Or simply need a break'...

Computers are NOT electronic babysitters. Parents should NOT be buying apps – be they fronted by Justin or anyone else – to have them mind their child - yet judging by the number of babies and toddlers I see entertaining themselves with phones and tablets in coffee shops, on planes, and in the back of cars, this is exactly what does occur.

Concerns have recently been raised about us raising a generation of tech addicts; kids' TV presenters and famous faces encouraging pre-schooler screen time under the guise of 'education' is simply disgraceful. Toddlers need to learn through real life interaction; books, pretend play and outdoor discovery. Anything else is just APPalling.

5 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
Scott Hughes
Scott Hughes

I don't really mind either way as long as the app is a good app. I will buy an app on it's own merits. I also buy on entertainment quality as I don't believe that the tablet should be used for learning/teaching.

What I don't understand is why you say

"little can compete with the rage I feel when spotting a toddler clutching an iPad"

Why pick on iPads, do you rage when toddlers watch TVs? What about battery powered toys? Or even plastic - should toddlers only be allowed to play with traditional wooden toys?

5 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
Terry Doherty
Terry Doherty

Have y'all seen the studies on the problems of kids in school that are directly related to screen use before age 3? http://sco.lt/5QPvpB

I can tell you that what I justified as "educational" (PBS kids, math and reading apps / games, et al) for my child has left long-term effects on her ability to focus, concentrate on a single task, or satisfy herself without someone or something feeding her input.

2 Reply Share:
Experience 3 years ago
Dr. Marc S. Blackwell Sr
Dr. Marc S. Blackwell Sr Dr. Marc, Family & Life Hacker Cape Town, ZA

I consider celebs to be a minor issue and the major issue is the content and the care both parents take to actually use the material themselves BEFORE letting their children relatively ..."loose" on a specific app, etc.

0 Reply Share:
Experience 3 years ago

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