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January 18, 2014

So How's the Whole iPad Thing Working for You???

You may remember how much I struggled through most of last year with the decision about introducing technology to the girls.  I am really proud of our non-battery-operated toys, our numerous sets of building blocks, half a million books, and my girls’ art supply fetish.  While I certainly didn’t want them to fall behind the technology curve, I had strongly mixed feelings about interjecting something so “charged” into our Zen-like mix.

I bit the bullet on Labor Day weekend, though, buying the girls each an iPad mini.  I downloaded a handful of educational apps, and set a 30-minute limit for screen time per day.  That first week, I wasn’t exactly regretting my decision, but I did see a lot of my apprehensions at play.  The girls seemed to wake up thinking about their iPads.  How long until we can play with our iPads?  Can we have iPad time now?” I heard at least 20 times a day there for a bit.

The newness eventually wore off, though.  One afternoon, a couple of weeks in, the girls were playing exceptionally well.  It reached the time when I would normally acquiesce their iPads…and they were still engrossed in their pretend play.  I didn’t dare interrupt them.  It was after supper that night when someone remembered in alarm, “Hey!  We didn’t play with our iPads today!

Now, more than four months in, the girls play with their iPads probably 4 or 5 days a week.  There are occasions when they might watch something on TV (usually from the Animal Planet), and they know that counts as their screen time for the day.  Other days, we just get wrapped up in whatever else we’re doing.  The girls still relish their technology time, but it’s become not such a big deal.

With the balance of our days safely in check, I can tell you there are things I LOVE about the girls and their iPads.  I love the fun apps they have for phonics and math.  I love the amazing pictures they can explore on their astronomy and wild life apps.  I love the functionality of the maps.  And I love how much fun the girls have taking pictures and videos.

Far beyond that, though, the girls are diving into technology, not afraid to figure things out…and I REALLY love that!  That’s exactly why I wanted to get iPads for them, so they could begin to develop an intuition about computer logic, and not be intimidated by technological things they don’t know.

The girls love to play with the camera on their iPads, and a big source of entertainment is taking new pictures for their backgrounds.  It amazes me that they figured that out so quickly, as THEY CANNOT READ to navigate the systems.  They both got there so easily through trial and error!  It wasn’t long before they learned how to take screen shots of virtually anything…even within an app…and save that as a background.  And HOW did they learn the word “screenshot”???

I love to see the girls working together, too.  Hey, Sissy, can you show me how you did that?  Hey, Sissy, can you help me on my iPad?  I can’t figure this out.

Like many things into which it took me a while to make the plunge (like baby gates and preschool and big kid beds, to name a few), I’m so glad I took the leap and turned the girls on to technology when I did.  It hasn’t hindered their love of blocks and books and puzzles, and it’s challenged and engaged them on a whole new level.


yetunde said...

I'm so glad to see how you had a plan before diving into this. Just like with potty training I'll use this as a guide for if/when I give the girls their own individual devices.

I confess I developed a deeper respect for Steve Jobs and Apple when I see how a complicated device is made so intuitively simple that even 2 year olds can figure out how to do things without any coaching. I still learn how to use my apple devices from watching my kids fiddle on them

Mrs FF said...

Kids figure out stuff more easily than adults because they just dive in without any preconceived notions. I'm glad they are enjoying their iDevice and learning as they go along!!!

Mandy said...

I'm so glad you wrote this post! It went similarly well in our house with MY ipad, but now I think you've convinced me to take the jump and get them their own. The newness should be gone now. Maybe I'll wait till school...that's right around the corner!!

Mandy said...

Also, have you had them at a laptop or computer yet? I find it hilarious my ladies think everything is touch screen. They've gotten the mouse down fairly well, but on both the mouse and touch pad they can't figure our click & drag for their apps.

Double the Giggles said...

This is so great! I currently don't allow the boys to use my ipad/smartphone, except for when I desperately need them to be still and quiet (like when I had to wait in line at the Verizon Wireless store for 75 minutes a few weeks ago, and they quickly became super wiggly and wanted to touch everything in the store). My hubby gives in and lets them play with it a couple times a week at home for a monitored amount of time. You'll have to share the names of some of your favorite educational apps with me and maybe I'll give in a bit more!