Children using electronic tablets. Educational or destructive?

Last week Ofcom announced that 1 in 3 children in the UK now have their own tablets. We wanted to know if our panel thought of this as positive or negative statistic and why they thought tablets are providing so popular among the younger generation.

The majority of the panel seemed to feel that if monitored correctly, tablets were a good thing that could prove educational and entertaining   for children. However they agreed that tablets could also have a negative impact on a child if not monitored correctly with one panel member commenting that “It’s a real balancing act.”

“They are so easy to use so they appeal to young minds…it’s easy to take them with them and have them at all times. The negatives are that they don’t know how to read a real book or they become too reliant on electronic devices.” (Chloe, Bromley, 31)

Most felt that tablets were only a positive thing for children if used to do the right activities on. “It’s a positive thing if there are limits on how long they use it for and what they use it for. There’s a lot of educational resources which are really useful and aid learning but if they use them for games all the time or social media I think it can become a problem.” (Jennifer, London, 28)

Many of the panel felt that tablets helped children to keep up to date  with the latest technology and to gain skills which they would need in later life.

“I think that they are a good thing. I think children need to be kept up to date with technology, otherwise when they hit the work place they will have a bit of a surprise.” (Susie, Birmingham, 27)

“In the future tablets will become more and more dominant in society so it’s useful for them to know how to use them.” (Nath, Coventry, 19)

A number of the panel saw no difference between using tablets and watching television, agreeing that both needed to be monitored closely by parents.

This particular panel member lets her kids use tablets and here she explains why, “they use it socially but they also use it for their homework…it’s really beneficial from an educational point of view and from a social point of view it’s great when you are in the car and it keeps them entertained.” (Nikki, Stafford, 39)

Many agreed with this factor, that tablets can be extremely useful for children’s learning and engaging them. “As a teaching implement they are interactive, you can turn them off and come to where you were. They are good to read on or to play some sort of learning game, I think they are invaluable.” (Craig, Kingston upon Thames, 42)

Some of the panel members felt more strongly that tablets could have a negative impact on a child. Many felt that young children should not being using things that allowed them access to the internet. “The fact that everything connects to the internet it’s terrifying about what children can be exposed to now.” (Philip, Wallsend, 26)

These panel members felt that it was scary to think of young children with access to things like iPads. Many felt that these children should instead be outside playing and using their imaginations instead of being glued to a screen.