DOES YOUR CHILD need an ipad?
Jennifer Senior, author of All Joy And No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenting, says parents nowadays feel we fail in our duties unless we offer absolutely every opportunity to our children. So, before we know whether we may be wrong or right about the essentialness of the tablet to future life, wealth and success, how can we deny our precious snowflake the ipad that “all” their friends have?
Should you bow to private school pressure and buy Junior an ipad as soon as you can afford it? Not at all, says Professor Andre Venter, a paediatric neurodevelopmentalist and professor at the University of the Free State. “Most research has been done with television watching. But it is important to realise that few skills used in screen entertainment transfer to useful abilities in the real world.”
You don’t need to feel that your child is missing out on key educational opportunities if he doesn’t have a tablet. “There really is no advantage to starting (ipad exposure) too soon,” he says. “Explorative, interactive and structured as well as unstructured play are far more important. So does it do harm? If controlled, probably not. Does it give your child an edge? Probably not.” Prof Venter says technological skills are easily learnt at any stage of junior school.