Month after month, there are two constants in my life. One, the kids are growing and developing into young people. Two, my iPad is becoming less and less my possession.
The kids love the iPad. I created a folder on the iPad with all of their apps which includes everything from Cars games to Super Why activities to a link to their Pageonce financial accounts. Playing with the iPad is never assumed though. They usually get to play it for a certain amount of time at the end of the day if they are well-behaved. And by that I mean if they were well-behaved for anything we needed to use the iPad as an incentive during the last few hours of the day.
No matter how useful the iPad can be, one unfortunate outcome has occurred due to the popularity of tablets: the inability for young children to differentiate between a touch screen and a LCD monitor Do you know how many laptop computer screens have been ruined due to this childhood ignorance? No Child Left Behind? How about No Monitor Screens Left Behind?
Since Andrew has inherited my geek genes much more than Emma, he is the main culprit with his greasy little fingers mucking up my laptop screen. I really don't like the kids touching our laptop or computers because I don't want them to think they are toys. The time will come when they will learn how to use it, and in the meantime they can read their books, play with boardgames, and their dolls...on the iPad.
I'm really going to have to teach Andrew the difference between a computer monitor and the iPad because his fingers are becoming much more powerful; it could be due to all of the nose and butt picking. If we are selecting a video on YouTube or Skyping with Crazy Gaga and Lazy Papa, Andrew will point and scroll his booger-infested fingernails all over the laptop screen. If it was safe to spray a monitor with a mixture of Purell and bleach, I would.
I'm really at the crossroad of either teaching the kids how to use a mouse and touchpad or not letting them touch the computer at all. Right now, despite my innate geekiness, I'm leaning towards not letting them touch the computer. They just turned four, and they have a whole life ahead of them to be inundated with RAM, gigabytes, and motherboards. The iPad is more than enough for them right now, and time will dictate when it's time to take an educational weekend trip to Fry's Electronics.