Lately I have been getting the questions about child’s age and his or her access to the iPhone.
I think it is a great topic to discuss. Aren’t children too young to play with iPhone apps? And when do they become not too young?
The answer probably different for each family but let’s take a look at the main aspects.
Kind of the app
First of all, I think it depends on the kind of the app one is going to use. If it is an educational app, interactive e-book, funny animals making the sounds or other similar “simple” iPhone apps for kids – then I think one can start quite early – say from 2 or 3 years old. It is great when one can diversify child’s experience and let him explore more. In addition, such apps are usually tailored to the small kids and generally speaking should provide value to the kid.
Amount of time dedicated to playing
Another aspect to think about is how long do you want the kid to use the iPhone. The rule of thumb is the younger the child is, the less should he use the phone. Don’t forget the “usual” toys, books, and walks outside. iPhone apps is a nice addition to all of that and the child should not be overwhelmed by it.
Where and when do you give it to the child
It also strongly depends on the circumstances under which the child gets the phone. I think it is fully justified to give a child to play when he would be really bored otherwise. For example, driving long distances in the car, waiting in a line, or even when you have guests without other children. Alternatively, it is also a great way to spend some time together and do more than usual. AppStore has almost unlimited amount of useful and fun apps. It is just a matter of choosing wisely.
Personally we started to give the phone to our daughter when she was a bit younger than 2 years old. She loves it and often wants to play. And I think that was just in time for her.
What about you? Do you have a similar or different experience? It would be nice to hear in the comment section!