Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Embracing Child iPad addiction

I thought getting a tablet device for the household would be a great idea.  

Adding to the convenience of searching the Internet.  Replying quicker to emails, having eBay on tap.  I mean, who has the time to wait for a boot up and needs a proper keyboard? 

We all looked forward to getting our iPad last Christmas, especially my boy, who’d used similar at friends’ and at school.

Despite having a Wii, a Wii U and an Xbox 360 (two of which we’ve come by through blogging) Max’s interaction with them, and screen time, has rarely worried me.

His boredom threshold has previously meant he wouldn’t stay transfixed to any of those machines for too long.  He also was never very keen to game alone, preferring to play a game as a two-player with me, or whomever else he could rope into virtually slicing fruit, or bursting balloons with a bi-plane.

I’m of the belief that any screen time can be positive, if it’s social, something shared, question encouraging and thought provoking.

So, rather naively, I didn’t see a lot changing with the introduction of an iPad.

But he’s become obsessed with the thing, addicted even.

I’ve drawn out the big guns lately.  Even fired a few: “It’s too nice to be inside” at him.  


Works a treat.

He did the same yesterday when he had a friend over for tea, eating our homegrown strawberries under the slide and sharing the iPad screen together.

I know I’m not alone, and was talking to a few parents about it this weekend at a kid’s party.

There’s a few who’ve gone down the rationing route.  Taking the iPad from their children, and rewarding them with tablet time for good behaviour.

I’m resisting the same.

Partly because I don’t want my child doing things purely motivated by getting some minutes on Minecraft or Clash of Clans.

Instead I’ve been looking at using the iPad positively, and keeping him busy with other things so it’s more often forgotten about.

We now use it to practise his handwriting and spellings for school.

Which encourages him to want to do it.

And when his Auntie introduced him to a new game this weekend (cheers Sis),  Alchemy, where he has to mix elements to make new things, I focused on the problem solving element.

It also encouraged him to interact with his Auntie more, giving her a call while he was playing later on at home, to discuss how to combine certain elements.  It was fun listening to them, and to each one taking turns in saying “how have you got that one?” with different degrees of expression.

He’s not returned to Alchemy since the weekend.  

And that’s how some things can be with tablets.  Fleeting.

I had a mild '4 pics 1 word' obsession during our holiday over Easter, but haven’t accessed that app since.

Which is probably part of it.  I suppose my job partly as a parent is to model the ‘right’ behaviour and not ignore my son, or anyone else for that matter, for the latest version of Tetris.

So I guess I shouldn’t be downloading Candy Crush any time soon.  Which means I probably do need the ad free version of that handwriting app!

Anyway, do you have this problem and what have you done about it?