The iPad is a little more than a year old, and somewhere out there is a child who, at that same age, is already learning how to use it. Little ones being enticed by gadgets is nothing new, but there’s something about the ease of use of Apple’s tablet that really gets kids excited.
“My son, who turns two in March, started playing with his mom’s iPad at the age of 18 months,” said Hussein Yahfoufi, president of Appsplit. “Soon enough he learned how to launch an app, go back to the home screen, and unlock the device.”
Elena Murphy, a mother of two from San Jose, allowed her children to start using her iPhone at the age of two. “Once they were introduced to the games, they asked to play with them all the time. They picked up the interface very easily… [it’s] very intuitive to them.”
A search of “iPad baby” on YouTube returns more than 7,200 results, and the children in these videos range from as young as six months up to toddler age. Late last year, the Joan Gantz Cooney Center released a study on mobile apps and learning and found that about 60 percent of the top education apps for the iPod touch/iPhone appeared to be targeted at preschoolers.
However, just because a baby or toddler can learn to use an iPad or another tablet, that doesn’t mean they should. Is there such a thing as too young, or too soon?