Generally speaking, my wife and I are loathe to allow our son to use a tablet such as an iPad. However, there are times we permit it. For example, when he is being watched by one of his grandparents, we allow it. The main reason why we allow it is because he is more likely to sit still for our parents who have difficulty keeping up with him if he is running around the house playing games like he typically likes to do. With that caveat aside, we do not like our son to use an iPad.
There are a couple of reasons for it. The first is that it is near impossible to pull a toddler away from an iPad. For some reason or another, toddlers just love iPads. Pulling them away from the iPad is like asking a smoker to quit cold turkey mid-cigarette. They’re not giving it up without a fight.
The next reason is it is somewhat hard to control what exactly they are watching. It really is.
If you are going on the internet, the safest choice site to go to is You Tube. On You Tube, there are any number to great educational videos for children. When my son was younger, he would watch any number of videos from ABC Kid TV. They were great in helping him learn numbers, the alphabet, and even some phonics. Of course, as a parent, the videos were so mind numbing, you wanted to tear your own hair out. There were also some Sesame Street videos and the like. Basically, there are any number of quality educational videos for toddlers.
However, there was the occasional problem with the ads. Every so often an ad appears for these videos, but You Tube does not do a good job in filtering those ads. While watching the aforementioned educational videos, Thomas and Friends videos, or really any videos clearly created for children, there have been ads for beer, underwear, and any number of things not quite fit for children. I’m not sure even Larry Flynt believed half naked women and men partying and/or in risque situations is the type of thing you want to be showing a toddler. Certainly, I am not one of those people. Even better, many of these videos are the type you are not permitted to skip.
Then there’s the next issue: the recommended video.
After watching one video, You Tube loads the next video and the next one and the next one and the next one . . . . Sooner or later, it moves from actual videos of say Thomas and Friends to people playing with the toys. This normally doesn’t end well.
The first issue here is not everyone is just showing their kids playing fun games with their trains. Eventually, a video will load of someone destroying the toys:
Granted, as a parent sick and tired of Thomas over and over again, a video like this is cathartic. However, this type of video will only serve to make your child upset. That’s a problem.
An even bigger issue is the toys that are either hard to find or are not readily available in the United States. Like most children, when you toddler sees a shiny new toy in a video, he/she is going to say that they want that toy. If your child is anything like my child, they don’t let it go. They remind you of that time and again. If this was August, no big deal – just tell him to wait for his birthday or Christmas. When he tells you that he wants Santa to bring him THAT TOY a week before Christmas, it’s an issue. It’s an even bigger deal when you ask what is the one toy he wants Santa to bring him most, and the response is invariably THAT TOY!
Next thing you know, you are scouring the internet looking for that toy and paying a premium for that toy. Speaking with different parents, I have heard stories of them ordering toy school buses from Hong Kong to paying ungodly shipping fees not just for a specific toy from England but also for the toy to arrive on time. For me this Christmas?
Well, I had to go to four or five different places to make sure I got each and every train from the Great Railway Show. By the way, there is a special place in hell for the person who created the Great Railway Show movie and for the people in charge of the creation of the toys for the Great Railway Show. Not all of them were made in the same sets, which meant I had to get some Trackmaster, some wooden, some Take ‘N Play, and some from another set of Thomas trains I never even knew existed. The best yet was Rajiv, Etienne, and Carlos have yet to be made into toys. I thank God each day that my son was happy with the trains I was able to get him and that he didn’t dwell at all on those three trains.
But that was the danger I faced due to You Tube. It is one of many dangers. Overall, like anything else in parenting, you just need to be vigilant when your child is around an iPad or You Tube.