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The iPad is a Top Christmas Gift for Kids--But Will You Be Buying One?

Dec 6, 2011 at 11:18 AM Chime in now

Pascal \o/ (flickr/CC)

By LISA VAN DE GEYN

I love my MacBook. It’s like an appendage. It’s on all day and sometimes all night. This laptop is five years old (which is at least 89 in human years) and is starting to act like a crotchety old curmudgeon that’s getting ready to go up to techno heaven. My machine is so testy that my kids are not (with a capital NOT) permitted to come within 10 feet of it. (In fact, I’d prefer if they didn’t even look at it.) In this house our laptops and BlackBerries are completely off-limits to the kids. 

 
Since they’re both so intrigued and curious about my Mac, the idea of getting them a tablet, LeapPad or some other learning device disguised as sheer fun (and vice-versa) seems logical – it would keep them away from my elderly computer and they might learn something with all of those cool apps. I’m just not convinced that my three year old – with the hundreds of toys, books and movies she has – needs to be playing with expensive technology. 
 
It seems the debate is a contentious one. (OK, not as contentious as breast versus bottle, but you get it.) Some parents are all for their tots exploring new technologies because it’s such an important part of our culture. There’s no denying parents also love these handhelds for their ability to entertain, teach and, well, distract, when mom’s making dinner or the family is travelling.

“The iPad is our favourite tech tool. I’ll definitely buy the kids their own in a couple of years,” says Toronto mom Kate Lamonica. “I know I might change my mind once I have to deal with the scarier findings on the Internet, but it’s an amazing tool for teaching and play for school-agers.” Maple, Ont., mom Sonya DiMambro bought her preschooler the LeapPad because “it could be a lifesaver for travel and has some impressive learning apps.” 

 
There are also parents who have decided to keep their kids away from burgeoning technology until they’re older. Says Toronto mom Heather Lochner, “I don’t let my kids near my tablet. My son is allowed minimal iPhone use but I try to promote play instead of computer time – that will come soon enough.”

Ottawa mom Michelle Calder agrees. Her young daughters have Leapster products and DVD players for long car rides, but that’s it. “The debate to get a tablet has come up this year. It would be more convenient but we’re trying to stay away from tech use while we can,” she says. “Then again, we probably let them watch too much TV, so is that any better? And the debate continues.

 
Would you buy a tablet for your kids? Why or why not? How young is too young to be playing and/or learning using technology? Chime in now!

Find more great gift ideas, crafts and recipes at HOLIDAILY!

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