We are a technology household. Daddy works from home so he is at his computer, iPhone, and iPad for many hours of the day. He and I believe that technology is a part of tomorrow no matter what and so we allow the kids to share an iPad. While they're young, we believe we're teaching them care and respect for their iPad (or whatever item you might have) and we have basic rules to keep it from being an electronic babysitter or just another toy.
1. Two to an iPad
Why? In this house, I need interaction - talking! My late-talker must use the iPad with me, dad, grandpa, even his sister, so that he is not just quiet. He must describe what he's doing, even if he's just repeating back what I'm saying. He describes what he sees, what the characters are doing, he laughs, he looks at me, kisses me, smiles, and laughs some more...:)
2. Educational Games Folder Only
Why? I want to be able to integrate this iPad into his education for a long time, so I need for him and the other kids to see it as a learning tool and not a big Nintendo DS. Handing it to them and letting them do whatever does not set any rules or boundaries and opens the door to abuse and destruction of the item.
3. iPads are for Practice
Why? You are the teacher or leader so any initial lesson should be coming from you. Allowing youtube or TV to teach your kids the ABCs makes the TV the teacher. Sing the ABCs, put together an alphabet puzzle, and allow technology to support what you have already taught. With our iPad, I search for apps to reinforce ideas I've taught, like Seasons HD to show more visuals and games of the four seasons.
4. Alone Practice is within Sight and for an Hour at the Most
Why? Actually, alone time doesn't even happen everyday. It's good to just let them become bored because that's when they figure out something to do! My son needs practice thinking and creating so just letting him alone is good, but sometimes on weekends when Daddy and I catch up with a show, my son sits next to us doing his thing.
5. And During Practice Time, Airport is On!
Not only are we preventing him from accidently buying or signing up for anything, but we are also protecting him from any inappropriate websites or youtube videos. He navigates well and for now we've kept the airport switch a secret...he navigates too well not to stumble upon a bad link.
6. Put it Back
Why? Like with their other belongings, they must take care of it and learn proper use of it. Leaving it on the couch is unacceptable - plugging it in at the same place teaches them to respect the item. Teaching this young I am hoping will prevent them from losing it if we ever take it out into the public.
Love, Amanda and Cubs