Have you seen that Apple iPad Pro commercial with a child roaming around her neighborhood, doing all kinds of learning activities on her iPad Pro? While she’s outside in the backyard making art, a neighbor asks her what she’s doing on her computer. The child simply replies, “What’s a computer?” The fact is, you can do almost anything on a tablet nowadays, from a reverse cell phone lookup to research for a school paper.
Do Kids Still Use Computers?
That commercial led to an interesting discussion in my neighborhood teacher group. Some teachers felt that kids shouldn’t have iPhones and iPads, especially not expensive iPad Pros, until they were older. Others felt that tablets are fantastic learning tools for children, as long as they have limited time on them. They can learn how to fact check, stay safe on social media, and run a reverse cell phone lookup at an early age. But I didn’t want to debate the pros and cons of tablets for kids. Instead, I was thinking about whether or not they’ve effectively replaced computers for kids.
I mean, most of my students use tablets while they’re at school. And they even do their homework on them, too. It’s very rare to hear about them using a family computer at home. Personally, I don’t have a tablet, so I still use my home computer pretty often. My students also used to be much more interested in watching videos and playing simple games on the school’s computers. But now, they just use their smartphones and tablets for schoolwork, reading eBooks, and watching videos.
Are Tablets Better For Children?
So parents, what do you think? Do your kids use a family computer or their tablets? Are there any advantages to using a tablet over a computer? The biggest advantage that I can think of is that kids aren’t tied to one place. They can do their work wherever they feel comfortable. In addition, they can work where it’s convenient, such as the library or a friend’s house, without having to figure out how to make their work portable. Floppy discs, which is how we made information portable in my day, have been dinosaurs for decades. Now kids can put their work in the Cloud and access it on their tablet anywhere.
Being able to watch videos on a tablet is easier for kids, as they can do so in places other than sitting at an uncomfortable desk. But is that necessarily a good thing? It makes it harder for parents to keep an eye on what kids are looking at online. They might not be able to see who their kids are talking to and run a reverse cell phone lookup on them. And what about social media? Parents still need to watch their kids’ social media accounts, which can be tough when they aren’t using a centrally located computer.
There are no easy answers to these questions. But it definitely seems like tablets are replacing computers for kids. What do you say, parents? Do your kids still use desktop computers or do they only use tablets these days? Which do you prefer?