DOES YOUR CHILD need an ipad?

Your Baby & Toddler - - Talking Point -

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.

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