5 Concerns About Buying iPod Touch for Children

Woman-iphone-whattodo1 I frequently get e-mails from parents who have questions about buying iPod Touch for their kids, such as ‘will my kid break it in a few days?’, or ‘it is an expensive device, is it worth it?’. In this article I am discussing some of these concerns and my experience with the same issues. Note that my experience is limited to my young kid owning an iPod Touch for about 3 months. I expect that parents with older kids may have different concerns. Here they are:

 


1. It is an expensive gaming device to get for a kid:
If iPod Touch is seen only as a gaming device, this is a valid concern. But for us, it replaced many of the educational electronic VTech and LeapFrog toys we got for spelling, colors, animal sounds, etc. We also have many story book apps on it. It also replaced my son’s DVD player, which we use mostly when we are traveling. When we add the cost of those all up, from the price point, iPod Touch was worth it’s value. However you should keep in mind that iPod Touch is never a replacement to books, legos, art projects that helps kids to develop crucial motor skills.

2. It is not a device designed for kids:
Children may not be the main audience for iPod Touch, but its use is very intuitive and easy. Any kid who is 3 years and older can master it after few uses because of the touch interface. The only difficulty we had was with our kid tring to plug his iTouch to the charger. This connector is sensitive and I would encourage not to let your kid to do it, because it can bend the sensitive pins in the connector.

Iphone-kids-expressions-13. It may be broken in a few days:
This was my main concern when getting iTouch, since it is more fragile than a DVD player and I have a really clumsy and active boy. To my surprise, he understood right away that this is a fragile device, rules like ‘holding the device with both hand’ ‘putting it next to the TV after he is done with it’ ‘using it only when he is on the carpeted area’ and ‘not installing any apps with motion controls’ helped us keeping the device intact. He has not dropped it so far. You can find tips about how to make your iPod Touch kid proof here.

4. It would spoil my kid if we get him one:
I guess there could be a difference here for younger and older kids. For really young kids, iPod Touch is not something that they ask for (unlike a cool car or a doll house), and I don’t think they feel privileged to have it. For my son, it is no different than his DVD player. iPod Touch has a lot of utility for him but by itself it is not something that he would be “dying to have”. However, this may not be true for older kids.

5. My kid may spend too much time with it:
This is a valid concern. It is not healthy for kids, or even adults, to spend much time in front of a computer or playing with a gadget. Luckily this has not been a problem for us, at least not so far. As a parent you have control over what kind of applications available on iPod Touch for them. I would recommend to be very picky and fill it up with all the good stuff, like spelling, math, and educational apps. You can find some reviews here. I would avoid ‘motion controlled’ games all together since they have very little educational value and they encourage kid to shake and break the device.

 

Do you have additional tips, concerns that you’d like to talk about? Drop us a note. 


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