iPhones as a Distraction: Damaging or Educational?
If you’ve ever felt guilty for handing your child your iPhone to keep them occupied for five minutes, take comfort in the fact you’re not alone. While spotting a kid on a gadget is a common sight these days, a lot of parents are worrying that too much time spent staring at the screen could be doing their children harm. Despite these concerns, it is not a case of all or nothing, and like many things in life moderation is key.
As long as their eyes aren’t glued to the screen for hours on end, letting your kids play on your phone could even be beneficial. Some kid-friendly iPhone apps can teach skills from problem solving to maths and hand-eye coordination in fun and stimulating ways. You can also download two-player puzzle apps that you and your child can work through together when you’re not so busy.
Angry Birds is a classic example, but there are plenty more that will challenge both you and your child’s dexterity and mental abilities. They might even learn a thing or two – and just maybe you will too!
That said, some caution is advised. First of all make sure your credit card details are not stored for use with in-app purchases. There are horror stories of children running up enormous bills, like one boy who spent £900 on popular game Farmville.
If you feel it’s the right time to give your older child a device that they can call their own, you can find Pay As You Go phones from Littlewoods which allow you to monitor how much money your child is spending.
It might also be wise to monitor the games that your children are playing. Versions of violent shooters like Grand Theft Auto are now available on many smart phones, and while they might be enjoyable for adults they’re probably not appropriate for children. Most phones will have options to restrict access to certain games, so spend a few minutes child-proofing your phone.
While a phone shouldn’t become a babysitter, there’s no harm in letting your kids enjoy the wide variety of apps and games that are available now, provided you enforce some sensible rules and keep an eye on what they’re up to.