Better living (or parenting) through technology? That is the question posed by Nielsen in a recent study looking at the use of tablets in families with children.
The firm finds that in households owning a tablet computer and with children under 12, 70% of children use the tablet. What these parents are letting them use the tablets for is likely cause for concern among those who feel parents today are not fulfilling their parenting duties.
77% of these children are playing games, while 57% use the tablet for educational purposes. The rest of the most common responses read like how to keep children occupied without actually parenting: 55% use the tablet for entertainment purposes (less “Are we there yet?”, more peace and quiet); 43% to watch television and/or movies; and 41% to keep the child occupied while at a restaurant or event.
At least 15% have used the device to keep in contact with other family members, but kids appear to be missing out on valuable life lessons, such as manners or learning from life’s experiences. It poses an interesting question as to whether or not society is only making the problems caused by technology worse, such as the end of interpersonal communication, or just not having the skills to deal with each other in real life.
There is a good deal of evidence that tablets can be amazing learning devices, such as the amazing video above from YouTube of young Bridger Wilson at ease with his father’s iPad. Tablet manufacturers have also created child-centric tablets like the Vinci, aiming to make the tablet a true learning device.
While kids can use these devices to learn, at the same time parents still need to parent. Nielsen’s numbers suggest that parents are increasingly using the devices to do more than teach; instead they’re increasingly used to babysit. Is this the right thing to do? It’s a question that has been asked for years. Like televisions before it during the 1950s and 1960s, there is probably not an easy answer.
One thing is for sure, though: childhood is short. Being in a children’s life as much as possible does make a difference later in life. Ask yourself, do you want to raise your children yourself, or have somebody to do it for you? Think about it.
Read more at Nielsen