Should I Buy My Child a Tablet?

​In the past several years, it has becoming an increasing trend for young children to have access to their own personal mobile devices—not just laptops, but smart phones and even their own tablets as well. But is it a good idea to buy your child a tablet? What age is appropriate for a child to have access to their own tablet? It is a difficult question whose answer depends on many different factors. If you are considering purchasing a personal tablet for your child, think about the following questions before you make your decision.

How old is your child?

The age of your child can mean the difference between access to a potentially helpful tool and something that could actually harm them. Pediatricians recommend that no children under the age of 2 be given any sort of free access to tablets, smart phones or anything with a glowing screen; these devices can actually hamper their mental development and can physical problems, including eye strain.

How mature is your child?

You will also want to be sure that your child is old enough to handle the responsibilities of a tablet—and actually get some use out of the device. A three year old child, for example, is likely not mature enough to take care of a tablet, and the only significant activities they might get from a tablet are playing with games.

The typical age that most children see some serious benefit (and aren’t as likely to lose or break the device) from tablets is about 5 to 13 years old. However, this age can vary from child to child. You will also want to make sure your child is mature enough to accept that they can’t—and shouldn’t—be constantly on their tablet.

Why does my child need a tablet?

“Because all of their friends have one” is never the right answer. You should consider a tablet purchase for your child if there is a concrete benefit for the purchase. Can they use the tablet for homework? Or reading e-books? In other words: Will they use the tablet for something other than staring at the screen?

In the end, the decision to buy a tablet for your child is a personal one that depends on your child’s age, maturity and personality. Tablets can be useful devices for children and adults, as long as you are well-informed before making your purchase.