5 things you need to know about kids and iPads

Did you give/receive an iPad as a Christmas present? Yay! Now, you can download and enjoy Timbuktu, the first iPad magazine for parents and kids, for free! Also, if you are going to use the iPad with your kids, (or if you gave it to your kids) there are a few things you may want to know about kids and iPads.

You already know they love it: apparently, 48% of American kids asked Santa an iPad for Christmas.¬†You saw them fighting to get it, you heard them asking for it first thing when you’re back home. You may have seen them hiding behind the sofa to get some extra iPad time before going to sleep (true story). The question is: is the iPad bad for your kids? No. At least, not necessarily. Follow these simple guidelines, and you’ll make the most out of this expensive tablet!

1) Don’t *ever* give them your iTunes store password.

Kids are super smart, and they will buy unautorized apps if they know your password. It’s a golden rule that to purchase something they need to ask you to do it for them. This way you can have control of how much they spend, and what they’re buying. Would you send your 6 year-old with your credit card in a toy store?

2) Download quality educational apps.

They probably know how to use the iPad much better than you, but that doesn’t mean they can choose top quality apps themselves. It takes your help and research to choose nice games, and cool educational apps. The App Store is full of apps, but not all of them are good for your kids. Some kind of games may foster alienation, and a solitary (and compulsive) use of this wonderful device.

3) Get games you can play together.

Our favorite game is “Ready, steady, bang!” Wonderful graphics, irony and the possibility to play with your kid, or to have your kids play against each other in a funny Far West duel. As a rule of thumb, get games that encourage them to share the experience they’re doing with you or with their siblings.

4) Use your digital experience as a starting point for off screen games and activities.

Too much screen time is bad for health, it can cause cognitive diseases and it deprives your kids of something that is extremely important to their development: multisensorial experience. Use apps that encourage them to move, to explore nature, to cook, and to play with others. If it’s a screen only experience, it’s not going to turn out as good as it could be.

5) Teach them some touch-screen politeness.

Did you notice kids tend to be unpolite when they are in front of an iPad? If somebody wants to play with them, they roughly try to take others’ hands off the screen, or cry if someone tries to play with them. Don’t give up. Explain them it’s not polite, and that they need to behave (even in front of an iPad!) or they won’t be allowed to play with it at all. This can be a powerful way to protect them from being totally absorbed by the screen, and to develop a more balanced relationship with their digital best friend.