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Digital Babysitting: Put Down the IPAD!

By Tina Ray, Legal Assistant, Woodruff Family Law Group

“Mom, can I have the iPad?” “Dad, can I play on your phone?”  How many times a day do you hear that?  If you have kids, you’ve probably heard those exact words.  My grandson loves to come home with me.  Why? To play games on my phone. As you can imagine, I really feel loved.  Don’t get me wrong, when you’re having a conversation with someone, or driving, it can be very helpful to have the cell phone or iPad babysitter.  But, sometimes parents and grandparents let it go too far.

Kids are kids. They are people that need exposure to….get this…. Nature.  Fresh Air. Other kids!  Some children would play on phones and iPads all day long and not come up for air unless the battery died.  They do learn some things from these games, but not everything they need to know.  Interaction with other humans is VERY important to their mental and physical growth.

Whether you use a Droid or Apple based product, there are many categories of games available for download. Just a few are; Family Games, Puzzles, Racing, Adventure, Action and Sports Games.  These games will often show you a rating and a description to allow you to decide if this is appropriate for your child.  However, once kids begin playing, sometimes these games will prompt for an upgrade or payment to continue playing or add a new gun or car to enhance play.  You will need to make sure that your phone or iPad is set not to allow any type of payment without your input.  Of course, your kid may get a little upset about this, but they will move past it as kids do.

It does amaze me that, even a young child that can’t read can actually figure out how to maneuver around and learn how to play the game with no help from an adult. So, using an iPad or phone for educational games as well as adventure or sports games can also be a teaching device.  Games do encourage children to use their brains and learn how to figure things out on their own.  It allows them to be exposed to the digital world and know how to use the devices that our world revolves around now so much earlier than past generations.

Nevertheless, this does not excuse us from being there as parents or grandparents. We are the ones that still need to mold our children into good human beings, and eventually productive members of society.  We shouldn’t allow these devices to be the only form of education for our children.  Sure, games are fun, and children love them.   If you’re like me, digital gaming is not my specialty, but your child will appreciate the effort.  Some children love gaming, and sometimes just joining in and attempting to participate in something that they enjoy can make all of the difference in the world.

But, remember, kids need the interaction with other kids and adults too. They need to know how to communicate with words and actions, not just through gaming.  Help them to enjoy the real world.  Put down the digital babysitter and spend that precious quality time with your children.