The iPad is a really useful, and more significantly fun device, so it is no wonder that so many kids are pestering parents for one of these touch screen Apple tablets rather than more conventional toys. Of course, because the iPad is expensive and also connects to the web, some parents are unsure as to whether it is a good idea to buy one for a school age child.
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Here are some helpful advice regarding iPads and school age children of different ages:
iPads and Kids Aged 5 to 8
The touch screen interface of an iPad means that many apps and games are very easy to use, even if you haven’t completely mastered reading yet, let alone computers. There are lots of downloadable apps available to help educate young children through touch screen play, so an iPad can really help them get practice in when it comes to words and numbers. You probably will want to install these games yourself and then give them the iPad disconnected from the internet, so you know all they have access to are the things you put there.
Children at the bottom end of this age group probably wouldn’t take much advantage of their very own iPad, but if you take these precautions letting them use yours or an older sibling’s should be fine. Kids at the upper end, if they are tech savvy, may enjoy having their own iPad where they can also create a library of their favorite books, music and movies as well as learning resources and games.
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iPads and Kids Aged 9 to 12
The 9 to 12 age group can get a lot of benefits from the iPad. Precocious children who already have an interest in things like social media may need to be supervised more strictly than others, but on the whole, allowing them to access the web and choose their own apps is reasonably safe and gives them a chance to prove they can be trusted. However, set them up with their own iTunes account so they can only get apps if they are free or they purchase them with an iTunes gift card – it is never wise to give them the password to an iTunes account linked to your card as many kids have made purchases accidentally this way due to in-app micro-transactions. Web access will make it much easier for them to use their iPad to do research for their homework, and will also let them download games and media they want. Apple has strict guidelines about what is allowed on the app store so games are age rated for language and violence, and there are no “strictly adult” apps allowed.
Because kids in this age bracket are more likely to be taking their iPads out to their friends’ houses or taking them with them when they go for days out, you may want to consider insuring the iPad so it isn’t an expensive issue if it gets stolen or broken somewhere it isn’t covered by your home insurance. You can opt for Apple’s own care package when you buy it, or look to some other specialist insurance options which are designed for iPad owners.
[Image credit: littlemaiba, Flickr]