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iPads for young kids... yes or no?

(60 Posts)
blossombird Thu 20-Apr-17 16:28:41

I've a feeling this is going to be a touchy subject but....

DH and I are going out tonight for a meal with our 2yo DS. DH wants me to bring the iPad for him. he's been saying about setting the iPad up for a while, we don't use it anymore (more than enough technology going on with a smartphone each and laptop between us) so he wants me to find some age appropriate apps and download a couple of DS favourite programmes to keep him occupied while out and about.
My argument to this is - we didn't have iPads or portable tech and we managed on just fine without. If a colouring book and crayons was enough to satisfy me when I was a child at a restaurant then why isn't it good enough for DS. I think it's setting a bad start to showing DS sociablility skills (if that's even a word lol) if he thinks he can sit through a meal glued to a screen. DH thinks I'm mad and need to go with the times lol he says everywhere you go toddlers and kids have iPads or their parents phones to play with to stop them getting bored at "adult things" such as meals out (which tbf are few and far between just that tonight is a special occasion for us) and shopping days. We're expecting DS2 this summer and DH thinks I'm making a rod for my own back by holding out on the iPad thing, he thinks my life will be a lot easier if when I need time with DS2 to feed or change or just 5 mins to myself I can give DS1 the iPad and know he'll be able to entertain himself for a few minutes at a time. DS hates shopping (like walk around the shops clothes shopping) so I don't go, I order all things I need online and go to the park or somewhere DS enjoys instead but again DH says if I can set the iPad up for him I'd buy a bit of "me time" to walk around the shops knowing he's not going to kick off in the pram or run off as I'm trying something on.
I really don't want my child glued to a screen all the time I don't think it's healthy, he has tv at home and I want him to see the world and take things in when we're out but DH thinks there is a middle ground where he can do both.

What are parents thoughts on this? Am I being too old fashioned or should I stick to my guns with this?

ScarlettFreestone Thu 20-Apr-17 16:35:51

For my personal opinion, no iPads.

It always seem to me to be a way for parents to basically ignore their child in a restaurant.

We have twins and used to keep them happy in cafes and restaurants as toddlers by talking to them and playing with them. They weren't allowed to wander around the place either. If they cried they were taken out for a bit.

Other parents make their own choices of course but I do get annoyed when people sometimes imply that there's no other way to keep kids happy and acceptably quiet than by sticking them in front of a screen.

Cakescakescakes Thu 20-Apr-17 16:56:02

I have one son with ASD and when anxious using the iPad is virtually the only way he can cope with a busy public place. It allows him to retreat into his own world. So for some families yes it is the only way to keep a child happy.

I have another child who is totally happy with a colouring book and a chat so different things suit different children and situations.

befuddledgardener Thu 20-Apr-17 17:02:49

Based on all the research and professional recommendations online, it's a no from me

Instasista Thu 20-Apr-17 17:05:00

We use iPads in restaurants. Did you really sit quietly with a colouring book when you were younger? On the rare occasions we went out we didn't. I recall people with kids didn't often go to restaurants. Now DH and I eat out with the kids at least once a week so it's a bit different

Allthebestnamesareused Thu 20-Apr-17 17:06:37

No - especially not as a table babysitter!

Only1scoop Thu 20-Apr-17 17:11:49

Never used tablets whilst dining whether home, pub or Mich Star restaurant.

Brighteyes27 Thu 20-Apr-17 17:17:49

No I absolutely hate that at any age but even worse in a very young child like 2. It's much better for you and your child to learn to chat and for them to learn how to behave at the table in a restaurant etc. it also helps their social and language skills.

exLtEveDallas Thu 20-Apr-17 17:18:18

It's technology, that's all.

We didn't have an automatic washing machine or tumble dryer when I grew up - just a twin tub and clothes horse. Life is much easier now with them.

Neither did we have a colour digital TV, but no way would I expect DD to watch a Black and White analogue TV now, just because I was happy to do so back when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

DD has had an iPad since she was 5. She isn't allowed it during a meal (nor her phone), but I would have no problem with her using it after a meal, especially if it gave DH and I the chance to have a chat and a drink and spend a bit of time concentrating on each other, rather than on her.

blossombird Thu 20-Apr-17 17:19:02

Instasista my mum tells me I did but then again she could have rose tinted hindsight lol

blossombird Thu 20-Apr-17 17:22:30

exLtEveDallas i think that's the point DH is trying to make when he keeps telling me "move with the times" it is a fair point though but I still feel like I'm giving in?

Joinourclub Thu 20-Apr-17 17:33:21

I don't think iPads are inherently bad. My 3 year old has one and there are some brilliant apps. He loves CBeebies story time, and toca boca games. We don't tend to use it in restaurants or out and about as that's family time. But it's useful on long car journeys or st home when I'm putting the baby to bed.

It's just modern technology, the world moves on and progresses. I don't think 'we didn't need it in my day' is a reason not to use it today.

pardrej Thu 20-Apr-17 17:59:37

In restaurants no, they need to learn to behave. I'm not at this stage yet mind you I'm sure it's not that simple..

Instasista Thu 20-Apr-17 18:12:39

They're perfectly behaved with the iPad grin

My DC is 2 and has an iPad. It is used as a babysitter. She doesn't interact for long and obviously can't participate in much conversation smile DH and I like to catch up over dinner so 20 minutes quiet is bliss.

Comealongpond89 Thu 20-Apr-17 18:18:03

I hate seeing this in restaurants. I think they should learn to sit nicely and interact with family. I understand it's important to learn to use technology as well but this can be done at home. I also think if they get used to having a screen at a young age they get bored with ither activities a lot quicker when they get older. My nephew, for example, is 9 and he whines and complains if he doesn't get to go on an iPad or computer console. He's glued to it at home and isn't interested in playing outside or doin anything creative. I think limited access is best imo

OSETmum Thu 20-Apr-17 18:35:12

In the home: yes.
In a restaurant: no.

jelliebelly Thu 20-Apr-17 18:45:49

Not in a restaurant - if you don't want to interact with your children over dinner then pay for a babysitter.

Sirzy Thu 20-Apr-17 18:49:29

It's like anything else - it's about moderation.

Realistically the levels of interaction will be the same whether a child uses an iPad or a colouring book to entertain themselves surely?

SheepyFun Thu 20-Apr-17 18:57:53

We've found that we use digital distraction less with DD as she gets older (currently 4, so not that old!) - we managed 45 minutes for coffee with a friend before she stopped coping (no distractions, digital or otherwise), but when she was 2, it would have been about 5 minutes. We don't go out to eat with her much, as a full meal would take a bit long.

The one time when we would use iPads (or our cheaper variants) without restriction would be on a plane journey (and in the airport). An unhappy child isn't fun for anyone, and you're trapped in close proximity for a long time.

Highlove Thu 20-Apr-17 19:07:35

Absolutely not in a restaurant or over a meal. At any age. I really hate to see it. If I'm being really honest, I'm quite judgey about it when I see it. <dons flame proof pants> We always take colouring stuff and other but and bobs, and obviously just talk to them. If we're having a problem then we'll take them out for a bit - definitely not allowed to run about or climb on chairs or whatever.

We do though load some CBeebies stuff when we're doing long car journeys.

AlletrixLeStrange Thu 20-Apr-17 19:18:21

For those that are saying they hate seeing it, it's not as black and white as you might think.
My son has ASD and on the rare occasion we do take him to a restaurant we absolutely take the Ipad because he WILL kick off and although it doesn't bother me, it's stressful for him and disrupts other guests.

Obsidian77 Thu 20-Apr-17 19:28:17

I understand that opinions will be split on this but for me it's a no to iPads at restaurants.
For us, going out as a family is a social experience and one the DCs should be part of. If they're glued to the screen, they don't learn to interact politely with the waiter, sit quietly, appreciate the food etc.
When they're very young, like your DS, it's a PITA to make this work, and probably involves you taking it in turns to take him outside to let off steam but behaving well in social situations is a skill you learn.
I don't care what other families decide for themselves but these are our expectations.
Perhaps ask your DH to research expert recommendations for screen time for under 5's?

Obsidian77 Thu 20-Apr-17 19:29:58

Obviously my comments refer to my own kids and I can completely understand pps whose kids have ASD etc and would need something to distract their DCs.

Instasista Thu 20-Apr-17 19:34:38

My children don't spend the whole time in the restaurant on the iPad- I don't notice many that do . They get bored of it too

Sirzy Thu 20-Apr-17 19:36:54

Ds (who is autistic) can interact with waiters etc (when his mood allows!) and miraculously still use an iPad! It's amazing but iPads don't automatically erase social skills you know!

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