I have seen numerous parents discuss their disdain for technology and have decided to not expose their children to devices like the iPad. I am not one to fault their decisions as they are so entitled. So, I have decided to write this as a way to explain why I like the iPad as a tool for my daughter's development. As an educator, I have spent a great deal of time looking at age appropriate apps and books. This is why the iPad is a device that works for our family.
1) We travel by subway and bus. A lot.
It is amazingly helpful to be able to carry an entire library in one iPad. Having to still carry a number of essential items when I travel with my daughter, it is nice to not have to pack books as well. In addition, my daughter can still develop her art without crayons and paper on the bus and train.
2) There are great apps. Writing Wizard gives her a chance to work on her letter writing, MoMA Art Lab lets her work with shapes, colors, and fun designs to create digital art, Red Hot Bach exposes her to one of the great composers, while creating art influenced by Bach's music, and Endless ABC and 123 lets Camilla work on the sounds of letters and counting. They are all great compliments to her toys, what we offer her as parents, and what she does in school.
3) She doesn't use it every day. The key is a balanced approach. I won't use it to replace me as a parent. That's unacceptable.
4) We can expose our child to musical instruments when they are not accessible. GarageBand is a wonderful app that lets Camilla create and record her own music. And she creates some sick beats!
5) Communication! We can stay connected to members of my daughter's village by Skype, FaceTime, or Google Hangout. This is priceless. We have even FaceTimed with a friend of mine who owns a ranch in Montana who was riding a horse at the time.
Now, the real question is what are the long term effects of any iPad use for young children. A recent article from The NY Times focuses on the Tablet/No Tablet debate.