We believe that any day care centre in Perth should have an iPad available for children to use. Children are learning to use iPads and other computing devices at an early age. We applaud this trend because we think it helps children prepare for school and because it can be another form of learning through play.
While there are no official studies on the effect iPad use is having on children’s development, we can’t possibly see them having anything but a positive effect. There is some research on the way, but it may be a few years before we get any results and any conclusions.
So, what do we know about children and iPads? The first thing is that they certainly aren’t shy about grabbing them and trying to figure out how to use them. Many seem to figure out a surprising amount of tricks quickly. However, that isn’t a licence to just give a child an iPad and walk away.
Sadly, many parents use iPads and computers as “babysitters,” trusting their children to use iPads appropriately and trusting security settings to keep their children safe. The problem with doing this is that too much time on an iPad or computer can have a significant and negative effect on a child’s communication and social skills. We recommend a balance of iPad time and time spent interacting socially with people.
Choosing the Right Apps
The App Store reached the million app mark late in 2013. That is a lot of apps to choose from. There are a lot of educational apps, but it can be difficult to understand just what your child will learn from them.
You should try to understand whether or not the learning opportunity is appropriate for your child’s age group. Will your child be unable to understand the app? Will they become bored? It can be difficult to find the “sweet spot” for your child’s level of learning. A lot of parents review apps, but unfortunately, parents tend to review apps that feature learning by rote more highly. We prefer apps that encourage creativity and intellectual growth.
This isn’t a strong point of apps that teach children how to memorise facts. In fact, apps that encourage learning by rote run contrary to what are now accepted as the best forms of learning for young children.
It is difficult to glean sustainability and values from many parent reviews. They are subjective and you don’t often know where the reviewer is “coming from.” While it is easy to reject an app on the basis of an inappropriate factor such as violence, it is important to be able to accurately assess the intrinsic qualities of an app in the absence of obvious “deal-breakers.”
We recommend asking yourself whether or not the app is consistent with your family’s values and your community’s values.
When using a free app, it isn’t enough to check out the app itself, because free apps make money for their developers through advertising. You should check out any free app yourself and make sure the advertising is appropriate for your child. If you don’t, inappropriate materials can “back door” their way in through the ads.
Another problem with free apps is that they can result in your child inadvertently or intentionally buying something offered by the app. Many game apps allow users to buy features to help them reach higher levels and attain higher scores. This can create a nasty “surprise” when you get your next credit card statement.
Usually, the best way to get information is to read the reviews on iTunes. They are from people who not only bought the app, but used it and cared enough to leave a review. They will help inform you about bugs, fixes, ease of operation and content.
Contact a Cuddles Childcare Centre Today
For the finest in child care, call your closest Cuddles Childcare Centre today. We have a great program based on our motto of “learning through play.” Nothing beats real social interaction with peers.