Many children can use a digital device before the can walk, able to swipe across a screen with ease. And using Mom or Dad’s tablet or smartphone seems like the most fun a little one can have. Even if your child seems to be able to use your tablet better than you can, it’s still difficult to decide at which age they should get their own tablet.
The truth is that there is more magic number, since every child is different. That being said, most experts agree that the later, the better.
The pros of getting your child a tablet
- You’ll regain the use of your own tablet (truly, this is a reason that parents choose to buy their child their own one!)
- They can access powerful apps and education tools for learning
- Extended screen time can lead to too much time spent sedentary, not engaging gross muscles and can lead to children becoming overweight
- Solo screen time can also mean that a child spends less time exploring the world around them and playing with their peers
- Tablets connected to the internet means opening up a whole new world to your children – one that is not necessarily safe or appropriate
General advice – wait until preschool
Even if you constantly have grubby toddler fingerprints on your own tablet, rather wait until they are in preschool (at least!) before buying them their own device. This is mainly because so much of a very young child’s learning and development is based on their experiences of the world around them, not the world on a screen.
By preschool age, children are able to benefit from education content on a tablet.
The caveat to this is that parental supervision and involvement is recommended, especially at a young age. Engage with your child as they use their tablet rather than leaving them to zone out in front of them. By sharing in the experience, you can help your child get more out of the games and apps, and make it a social experience by asking questions about it.
Whatever age you decide is appropriate for your child, always limit screen time to ensure that using a tablet is a hobby, not a habit.