Wednesday, June 1, 2011

TV Raised Me, But the iPad Is Raising My Nieces and Nephews

Okay. I really was not raised by television. Growing up, I got at most an hour of TV a day on weekdays while on weekends, I get my fill of Saturday morning cartoons but for the rest of the time, the TV is off. Still, I’ve read about the volume of TV shows my friends watched growing up as I’m sure you have as well.

And while some of what we watch could be loosely be construed as educational, things have changed. And yes, TV remain a big part of today’s children (for better or worse), so is the mobile tech. In particular, the iPad. Some schools have even gone out of their way to procure these still-hard-to-find Apple tablets for their kindergarteners.

I even gave my nephew my original iPad. He loves it. He plays games on it and writes his numbers and letters. And in the past, I have recommended to my brother and his wife not to let my nephew watch so much TV, it fell on deaf ears. I get the usual irresponsible parental excuses.

On a recent visit to my brother’s house, I noted that the TV was off. I was surprised. Maybe my constant nagging by way of SMS and e-mails worked. I was proud of myself. When asked where my nephew was, his dad said he was in his room.

Reading his books? Wow, I was really happy then. I went upstairs, walked to his room and peeked in.

He wasn’t reading books. Nor was he playing with his toys.

He was on the iPad playing his assortment of apps. Drawing, simple games, alphabet and number apps, and or just swiping the screens left and right.

Apparently, he had been on there for quite a while that morning.

So, what’s better (or worse)? TV or the iPad?

It really depends on how you approach this. Anything can be a tool or an instrument that leads you down paths you rather not go. In my nephew’s case, watching Cars three times a day isn’t going to help him developmentally. Nor is playing games on the iPad. However, the educational and developmental apps has done things for him that Buzz, Woody, Nemo, or cast of Cars could not.

So, maybe it is better for today’s children to be raised by tablets rather than the television. Truth be told, I rather have an iPad than a TV growing up.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPod touch

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