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Concerns grow over children using tablet computers

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Didnt they say the same thing about TV 30 years ago?

My 2 year old loves the animal jigsaw puzzles and the farmyard games. My 5 year old is teaching himself to read and is thrilled with himself for being able to do it. My 8 year old was struggling with her maths and was really upset about it until she found a kids maths app that has now helped her to figure it all out and she went off to start her new school year just this morning with renewed confidence.

I dont see the value if kids spend too much time just shooting sh$t, but these things have huge educational value, and they are here to stay - just like the telly when I was their age. So I say the experts suck it up and make some sensible recommendations instead of trying to tell us how bad everything is all the time.

7 ( +12 / -4 )

There is always gonna be something "researchers" use to make a name for themselves. Even before TV, I think it was "comic books were gonna make children stupid" - ban comic books! After TV it was video games, now it is the iPad. And the mass media never help as they are more than willing to print "scary" issues to get people to buy their newspapers or magazines. My sons play the Wii, use the iPad to read books and do math problems, and the missus and I make sure that it's limited to about 30 mins a day. Everything in moderation.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Not an ounce of research cited here, and for the simple reason that there is none yet. In fact this is the same sort of hysterical and irresponsible reporting that comes out every generation.

"You can’t pull it from their hands" Yes, my daughter throws a hissy fit when I take the ipad away from her, but she does the same thing if I try to take her favourite toy to be washed. Nothing unnatural or unusual there.

“Can they focus on a conversation, not look a screen for 30 minutes?” At what age? I mean are we talking about 3 year olds, 4 year olds, 8 year olds? What is a "conversation". For a 3 year old a "conversation" is a short exchange of about 3 sentences before they get distracted and want to do something else. I know a lot of adults who can't keep themselves from looking at their cellphone for 30 minutes.

Frankly the iPad is fantastic for my daughter. It's a bookshelf, a video library, a box of puzzles, and a lot more. Should it's use be monitored? Definitely. Is it safer, cleaner and more versatile than a whole box of toys? Absolutely. It would take a really inventive 3 year old to turn an ipad into a choking hazard, unlike, for example, a traditional puzzle.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

My 2 year old couldn't be separated from the ipad about 6 months ago. She doesn't seem to care for it anymore now.

Pretty sure when books finally got mass printed, parents were not happy either, took away children's time to do chores/housekeeping/helping the parents ran their business, etc.

Humans and xenophobia/technophobia never cease to amaze.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I for one can't wait to do away with textbooks, notebooks, and traditional school supplies. The kids won't have to lug around those awful book bags either.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Could put Randoseru manufacturers out of business! Or a new line in slimeline Randoseru that doesn't damage the back muscles of kids? ;)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Nicky, it is one thing to have a few kids that you can monitor. It is another to have a class full of kids. I HATED taking kids to computer labs because they were never on task. Too busy screwing around on other programs and games. They also demand computer and I believe it really messes up their attention span.

How many times in the past week have I seen little kids on ipads while mom is on her phone? Far too many. For a country that already has socialization problems, this only adds to it. Why make friends when you have a portable one? Why bother speaking to your family when you can play games.

Also, TVs have proven to make people zombie like. Parents need to limit their kids time on anything electronic.

What ever happened to reading a book or playing with your kids??

-9 ( +5 / -15 )

I dont see the value if kids spend too much time just shooting sh$t, but these things have huge educational value, and they are here to stay - just like the telly when I was their age. So I say the experts suck it up and make some sensible recommendations instead of trying to tell us how bad everything is all the time.

Well said. For some people it's just so much easier to accentuate the negative of anything and everything.

How many times in the past week have I seen little kids on ipads while mom is on her phone? Far too many.

How many times in the past week have I seen a parent chatting away on their phone while out with their little kids? Far too many.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Numerous studies were conducted on brainwave activities, etc., during use of video games from the 1990s, but nothing conclusive emerged. These insidious gadgets are just as bad for adults as they are for juveniles. As can be easily discerned by riding the public transport, nine-tenths of Japan's adult population are hopelessly addicted to their mobile electronic gizmos and the extent of zombification is unmistakable.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

nine-tenths of Japan's adult population are hopelessly addicted to their mobile electronic gizmos

While I was intrigued by the number of people staring at electronic gizmos on the subway, once I looked at what they were looking at, I changed my mind.

Most were communicating with a human not on the same train or reading websites/ebooks. Reading isn't bad for a person nor is communicating with other humans.

It still makes me wonder, though, when a couple is obviously on a date and both are texting someone.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I wish iPads were mainstream in education. All textbooks could be downloaded and used on one device. It's not like it's necessary to teach them how to turn paper pages.

Classrooms should be Wifi networked so that teachers could have more control over lesson presentation and instantaneous feedback from students.

I'd love to save trees and have more oxygen being produced as such.

I'd love to get rid of outdated methods period.

-1 ( +2 / -2 )

The tablet or iPad is like the TV or computer in the classroom.

Back in the days, there was probably only one TV and VCR for the whole school in a lot of cities. The TV and the VCR can be consider an educational value in that it was used to show news in a sixth grade class for civics class.

Remember the typewriter then the computer for typing classes. Those were tools to teach students how to type and be accurate at the same time increasing the speed.

Educational value is teaching kids how to be programmers or do science projects. About 25 years ago, children in one school district were learning the turtle program in the fifth grade. It was a lot of fun and at the same time a learning experience how to make the turtle draw things. Learning to use the library and reading the newspaper were consider educational value. What are kids learning today in school that prepares them for the future like how to write a paper, or critical thinking?

A school may have tablets and iPads but it won't make a difference if students don't know their math, reading, civic class, science, or music etc. to prepare them for the future.

Silicon Valley Tech Execs Sending Kids to Tech-free Schools http://www.educationnews.org/technology/silicon-valley-tech-execs-sending-kids-to-tech-free-schools/

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Agree with one large central display, may it be a black/white board/projector or whatever.

Also remember the language lab where we set in cubicles with head-phones and mikes and repeated what we heard. Teacher could dial into each student unknowingly.

And, yes, we tried to chat with friends and not do the studies till the teachers voice in the phone called us to order. So, IMO, not much changed in 30yrs.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

One things tablets do is to create people that can only draw a stick figure.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

How many times in the past week have I seen little kids on ipads while mom is on her phone? Far too many. For a country that already has socialization problems, this only adds to it. Why make friends when you have a portable one? Why bother speaking to your family when you can play games.

What if you saw a child doing math on their ipads? What if they were learning to write the alphabet? Are you condoning that because it's done on an i-pad? I don't think i-pads are a replacement to friends unless that's the only way one is communicating with his/her friend. Speaking to family and playing games are completely different.

What ever happened to reading a book or playing with your kids??

I-pad reads to kids too. Parents can read a book on the i-pad together. They can play with their kids on the i-pad together. Too much i-pad time might not be good but it's not as bad as you're making it sound...

I love my I-Pad and so do my kids. I have both educational applications and regular games on it. My kids know that they have to do their educational apps before playing any games and they abide by those rules. Both of my sons have learned their addition and subtraction from I-Pad and have learned to read and spell from the apps too.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

If you have the $$ sure go ahead and buy an IPAD if you do not have the $$$$$ then get an imitation, pretty sure the kids will be just as happy!

-2 ( +1 / -2 )

The title of the article states "tablet," but the article is about Apple's iPad. Apple is doing what Microsoft did years ago offer a few schools computers and software then the rest of the schools in the country bought PCs and Microsoft softwares. It's the same for Apple's iPad. It's about using the iPad as an educational tool but at the same time making the parent buy the iPad for the home. All those educational apps would most likely be from the Apple Store. It's about market control from a businesses prospective.

-1 ( +0 / -2 )

It is one thing to have a few kids that you can monitor. It is another to have a class full of kids. I HATED taking kids to computer labs because they were never on task. Too busy screwing around on other programs and games. They also demand computer and I believe it really messes up their attention span.

Then maybe you just weren't a very good teacher. Maybe the burden was on your to keep better control of your class.

Any teacher who says they HATED taking their students into a classroom setting probably should have chosen a different profession. Maybe if you had been a little more positive, your students would've fed of your energy and paid better attention.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Is is Apple bashing day? There should be more concern about game consoles like Nintendo DS and PSP. At least an iPad is used for education, whereas the others are just for gaming, unless you are studying kanji on a DS. I can't count the amount of middle aged salarymen I see on the trains with a PSP or DS playing mindless games and playing games on their mobile phones. Yeah, video games are relaxing, so they tell me, but I'm there is very little mental stimulation for a man in his mid-40's playing 'smack the hamster' on his DS. Both my kids have an iPod touch and a DS, however, there are very few games on them. There many educational apps for language and math, which is the reason they have the devices.

My point is, everyone is concerned about children using devices as educational tools, but nobody is concerned about the adults addicted to mindless games, which to me, s a much more serious issue. How can they expect kids to use them for education when their role models use them for games?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

That's right Disillusioned. We love Angry Birds .....SPACE!!! Now we can get totally Spaced Out with Angry Birds. It's a different generation now. My generation grew up on a pocket full of quarters. Pac-Man and Asteroids were afterschool activities.

You can't blame the device, nor can you give it the credit. It's all about how it's used in the classroom. I'd love to whip it out and go to work but without an interactive white board and a proper network linking data and notes together the iPad alone won't get the job done.

The sharing of information is our greatest educational tool. If we are doing long division on the board and I can't flash transfer that data to another students iPad then it's a waste of time.

It Apple can introduce apps such as Smart Jr, network control for C.A.L.L then we'd have a framework on which we could implement iPads into every aspect of education. We'd truly be in the full immersion digital age.

-2 ( +0 / -1 )

What if each student in a classroom had one...and then one broke?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Just remember this quote: Anything in excess is harmful to health. So the key here is to limit access to these devices. iPad for babies is a wonderful idea as it introduces next generation computing at early stages. The day is not far when we oldies get ridiculed for using notebook PC with keyboards and mouses.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Victorian society blamed books and bicycles for the ills of society. Having said that, too much staring at a screen won't do any child good. Get out of the house and climb a tree or make a camp.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

**I wish iPads were mainstream in education. All textbooks could be downloaded and used on one device. It's not like it's necessary to teach them how to turn paper pages.

Classrooms should be Wifi networked so that teachers could have more control over lesson presentation and instantaneous feedback from students.

I'd love to save trees and have more oxygen being produced as such.

I'd love to get rid of outdated methods period. ** I don't. And it won't happen - not soon anyway. Why? Schools a) won't train their staff on how to use things b) won't purchase these for their PT staff c) will have numerous issues with making things "fair" for all students.

Are you going to make students buy their own? What about students who already have tablets that aren't willing to buy a new one? How about teachers who aren't willing to use them in class?

Save trees? If you think tech is the answer for being green is this, you're wrong. Any idea about all the nasty stuff that goes into these? The batteries are pretty horrific for the environment alone, let alone all the power they need.

More control? How do you suggest an ele teacher control 40 kids with ipads? I went to a "paper free" uni and it wasn't paper free, it wasn't well controlled - even though the teachers tried and were amazing teachers.

What do you guys suggest teachers do when a) batteries are dead b) kids forget them c) students break them d) there is a problem with the wifi...

Tech has a time and a place in the classroom but to think that this is the only way just really isn't realistic. I work at a uni that has FIVE CALL rooms that never get used. Why? Lack of training for the teachers and now, outdated softwear and whatnot. CALL costs a lot of money. Much, much more than just paper when you factor time, training, upgrades...

As for Any teacher who says they HATED taking their students into a classroom setting probably should have chosen a different profession. Maybe if you had been a little more positive, your students would've fed of your energy and paid better attention. This is a joke right? Must be. Disliking CALL doesn't mean someone can't teach. It means they don't like the idea of students either zoning out on tech or getting far too excited - and my comments were for JHS classes, thanks very much. Uni students are much, much easier.

Has for the good points, indeed there are many good points when these tablets are used for educational games and whatnot. Thing is, many parents don't use them as this. They use them as temp babysitters. I'm glad you all seem to be the perfect parents who only use them for academic purposes. Could you speak to the other parents about using them for something better than angry birds?

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

No joke? Unless we're talking about you as a teacher (at least from the sound of it).

Once again, if you were able to present the material better or in a more interesting way then perhaps your student wouldn't have tuned you out.

Makes no difference what age of student you are talking about. The teacher is in charge. If you HATED taking your students into a computer lab then maybe that had more to do about your feelings of inadequacy than your student's unwillingness to cooperate. Thanks very much.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Who said I was presenting anything? For all you know I was covering a class for another teacher in a computer room...

I love all these new posters that only post for me! I feel special. Does it take you a long time to log out of your regular handle and post and go back? Or do you stay in troll mode for a while?

Thanks very much.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I can't speak for the other new posters but I just disagree that I-pads are the reason the kids you had to take care of were "never on task" or too busy screwing around.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Amid warnings from some researchers that tablets can cause developmental difficulties and problems including autism or attention deficit disorder,

Riiiiiiight. And some other "experts" have some drugs for sale that can medicate your child's ADD. So feel free to give your a child an iPad, because they will probably diagnose your kid with ADD and sell you those drugs anyhow.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

What ever happened to reading a book or playing with your kids??

I am assuming you are making this as a general statement and it is not directed at me??!

I never said ipads should take over from good old fashioned parenting. Just that they have a very good place in modern society. I dont like seeing groups of boys sitting in the park individually with handheld games consoles - thats crazy. But kids using ipads to do alphabet games and suchlike while Mum has a cup of coffee - well, yes, sorry, no problem with that. Mums arent superhuman. Did it myself today with my 2 year old after being up 6 times in the night with him. 30 minutes on the ipad doing puzzles while I took a much needed slurp of caffeine was much needed. So sue me.

After that we went out and spent 12,000 yen on books for the older two - real books. Will be sitting down with them in about an hour from now to give them 20 minutes each of individual cuddle-up-and-read time. Balance and moderation in all things I say. (Except chocolate and beer!)

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Never had one.. Who cares? A netbook serves much better.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

General Nicky, general! I know there are a lot of education games and the like (I remember begging for a Texas Instrument math game years ago) but I don't think a lot of parents are actually having their kids use them as benefical educational tools - just basing this on what I personally have seen. I've seen kids playing games and watching cartoons more than anything.

I agree they have a very good place in society - but don't agree they are the be all and end all when it comes to a) schools and b) things that children can do when mom and dad want their kids to be quiet (I suggest duct tape for that!).

Like you, I think it is crazy to see kids sitting there playing games and not speaking to anyone else - and then I look at their parents and see exactly why they got it from. Also will point out that a lot of parents here don't read to their kids - and before anyone flips out on that, I am talking typical Japanese families with no alien parent. There are actual parenting courses on how to read to kids, publishing companies here are pushing "reading time" and the like because it just isn't all that common.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@tmarie: gotta love duct tape! ;)

I agree with you that I see (and sometimes rescue!) toddlers walking down (or in!) the street while Mum or Dad 20 meters ahead have their noses buried in their cellphones.

I didnt know it wasnt common for Japanese to read to their kids! Is that true? I have never even asked because I just assumed it was normal like in our household. (Just as an aside for anyone raising kids outside the technological world - Oxford Reading Tree is fantastic!) At kindergarten and some hoikuen, they give you a book on a monthly basis and sometimes in kindergarten also have reading days, where you have to sit down with the children and read the books with them.

I limit the kids ipad and wii use to 30 minutes per day, plus "credits" which they have to "earn" (tidying up toys, doing homework etc). But I personally think they are pretty good (if they are used for educational purposes, not angry birds!) but I have to hold up my hand and admit to using it as a babysitter once or twice when i am desperate - like today! (up 6 times in the night again!) I can teach my 2 year old his ABCs, but he seems to get a kick out of doing it himself.

I remember being 10 and getting my first cassette recorder! It tooks me hours to figure out how to use it. My 2 year old pops his own DVD in the player and hitd the right buttons to get it into English and start it off, while my 5 year old sets up the wii! WTF is that all about???!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I remember being 10 and getting my first cassette recorder! It tooks me hours to figure out how to use it. My 2 year old pops his own DVD in the player and hitd the right buttons to get it into English and start it off, while my 5 year old sets up the wii! WTF is that all about???!

Maybe they get it from dad? I know I was always good with gadgets and my boys are much like your children and figure out things all on their own in almost no time! No idea how or why but my wife's jaw just hits the ground every time! The ILs think the boys are geniuses - don't think figuring out how to use a Wii = a genius, though. LOL!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Everybody!! Hey quit picking on my Angry Birds before I start launching them at your glass houses, lol.

iPads and tablets in general go beyond the content that is presented. The next generation will manipulate data and information more rapidly than we could have ever imagined. Socrates was right with his theories for education. We learn from each other.

The next generation would like to go beyond just flat 2D pen and paper. Lets those formulas come off the paper to a IWB or tablet platform where we can manually manipulate formulas. How about presenting in a biology class. Shall we read it or lift that DNA image off the page where we can read it, tap on it and learn more about it through manipulation. Controlling these lectures you can ensure that we are all on the same page.

@Tmarie I believe the pros outweigh the cons. I know the world tolerates only one change at a time but it has to happen. It will be a while before we find another Steve Jobs. I'm so ready to see the old teaching methods go the way of the dinosaur. No more teacher favoritism. We are going to save lots of more money by doing away with textbooks and going pure digital. Everything can and will be distributed digitally.

You see the old school veteran teacher is limited to government control. The Ministry of Education is inflexible and can't be taught new tricks. The only reason such technology hasn't been fully implemented is because someone wants to still be in control. Someone needs to make a buck off it first even if they didn't come up with the idea.

Seriously, there are some people who wish to slow down education and productivity. The human race can be so much more but some "haters"aka bureaucrats want to hold us back. Education is the key to solving many of the world's problems. Don't be so technophobic.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Hey quit picking on my Angry Birds before I start launching them at your glass houses, lol.

Hee hee! Actually, I love angry birds, but our house is ruled very much by the old "Do as I say, not as I do"!

@Godan: you could be right! I always thought he was the creative one, and I was the geek. May have to rethink the boundaries over here a little!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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