When is my child old enough to use an iPad or tablet?

In general, consider any child younger than 2 years old too young.

Tablets may prevent infants and toddlers from engaging in the give-and-take of everyday exchanges with family as well as the “real” world of playing with physical objects that require and develop sensory and motor skills. iPads do offer some terrific “edutainment” apps to help young children learn, especially in spelling, reading and math.

Tablets can also promote self-control. Before you use one for the first time, practice when it’s time to start and stop using it. Make its use dependent upon stopping on time, and let the child earn additional minutes with good behavior.

Finally, lead by example: Children mirror what their parents do, and if you’re always on your phone (“app-sorbed”), your child may follow suit or sigh, cry or go to other great lengths to get your attention.

Craigan Usher, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital

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Comments

  1. ‘Tablets can also promote self-control. Before you use one for the first time, practice when it’s time to start and stop using it.’

    Gee, I know of a few adults – myself included – who could use a little self-discipline in this regard.

  2. I would say that the child should not use tablets until like 15 yo. I definetly don’t like to see a small baby playing with it.

  3. This is really helpful.Actually,I had doubt about my child’s behavior.He always want these gadgets.Anyway,as you said,it is better to promote ‘self control’.Although,I am still not successful on this,I will try with him.Thanks.

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Lisa McMahan is a social media coordinator working to discover and share stories at OHSU. Got a story idea? Connect with the team: socialmedia@ohsu.edu.
Doernbecher Best in the Country U.S. News & World Report

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