Babysitter? No need, give them the iPad

Babysitter? No need, give them the iPad

Summary: Kids being a nuisance in the car? According to a new Nielsen study, many U.S. parents will hand over a tablet device to keep them quiet.

TOPICS: iPad, Mobility, Tablets

Is a gadget good enough to replace your usual Thursday night babysitter?

Perhaps not, but handing a child an iPad can be a way to keep them quiet -- tempting when you imagine long car journeys without an incessant chorus of  'are we there yet?' ringing in your ears.

A new study conducted by Nielsen Wire has provided another glimpse into young children and their use of tablet devices. Surveying children under 12 growing up in households that own a tablet device, Nielsen Wire found that in the forth quarter of 2011, seven out of ten children used a tablet computer -- a nine percent increase from the third quarter in the same year.

77 percent of those surveyed stated that their children download and play games on their tablet device; in comparison to 57 percent that use the devices to access educational applications. However, if you combine the 'entertainment' purposes of a tablet in the survey, then it is obvious that keeping children amused through the devices is far more popular than use as a learning tool.

It seems that parents have also caught on to the idea that tablets, being mobile, can be used as welcome distractions to keep their children entertained. 55 percent hand over a tablet to keep their children amused while travelling; and 41 percent allow their children tablet devices when they are at events or public places including restaurants.

The survey also found that using tablets to communicate with others is not very common -- only 15 percent of children from the survey engage in this activity. Interestingly, a comparative project by Digital Future had similar results for those under 12 -- where 20 percent of children said they would feel 'lonely' without Internet access -- in order to use it for communicative purposes.

Image credit: Nielsen Wire


Topics: iPad, Mobility, Tablets

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  • I'll take that iPad

    I was thinking the other day "Man how did my father ever survive travalling with kids?" then I rememberd, oh yes THE BELT. As in if dad had to stop the car we were getting a spanking right along the highway. Well, since such methods are, ummm, "frowned upon" these days all I can say (and I say it ever trip now) is "thank goodness we have iPads!"
    • RE: Babysitter? No need, give them the iPad


      The fear of the belt never worked all the time .. especially when the ages of the children are under five.

      Although an expensive option, I found that the in-vehicle DVD screen playing movies that caught the interest of the children worked wonders for adult driving enjoyment.
    • The belt never impressed me. Kind of liked pain myself:)

      @oncall ... Besides I pointed out to dad while I was growing UP he was growing old.

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
    • RE: Babysitter? No need, give them the iPad

      @oncall -

      Looks like the belt didn't help you double-check your typos... "travalling"? What's that?! "rememberd"?!! Where's you're belt-wielder, since I suspect you were trained under the highly lucrative "home-schooling" paradigm as well...

      Besides, some kids who were belted for everything are probably socially inept, out of fear of doing the wrong thing all the time...

      Condign punishment - what's appropriate to the act and making sure the child understand WHY the punishment being given is the key.
      • RE: Babysitter? No need, give them the iPad


        "Condign punishment"

        "what's appropriate to the act and making sure the child understand WHY the"

        Pot, Kettle, Black. I make typos all the time, not because I can't spell, but because I type too fast and badly. Let's not start judging people's education and dismissing them outright because of a few typos in a couple of paragraphs.

        It's difficult to explain to a child about crime and punishment when they have no understanding of language aside from a few nouns and verbs and barely even recognize that others exist for reasons other than to satisfy their needs. i.e. 1-6.

        I do agree for older children that there should be consequences, but not necessarily punishment. Punishment tends to only instill fear or resentment. Consequences instill self responsibility.
    • RE: Babysitter? No need, give them the iPad


      I'll take a tablet but it won't be an Ipad or Android device. That's right my kids are raised on Windows and will continue to be Windows users until they exit my domain! Mwaaahhhhh Long live Bill Gates!
  • RE: Babysitter? No need, give them the iPad

    Since when is it right to reward bad behavior? When I was a child you knew to act properly, or you???d get punished. These days it???s act improperly and get rewarded? This is what happens when liberals are in charge, the world got into the crapper!
    • It's called empathy.. Look it up.

      @Joel-r .. Most udults understand the basics. Children are children because their minds have not fully developed. They are prone to flights of fancy, giggle fits and all sorts of childish things to pass a day or a long trip stuck in a car. So the adult thing to do is to be ready for natural things like goffing off on a long trip heck to even take preventative measures like giving them the iPad before the giggle fits start. It's not a reward for acting up but rather a tool to prevent said. Or you can choose to look at it your way and yes only LIBERALS can understand such complicated stuff like empathy and such.

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • RE: Babysitter? No need, give them the iPad

        @James Quinn -

        Thanks for a GOOD response.

        Though my bit about political party pegging still applies... but I can see why you'd sling it right back at him, given he started it...
    • RE: Babysitter? No need, give them the iPad

      @Joel-r -<br><br>Since when is good behavior rewarded anymore? "Merit pay"? Nonsense. Time is money. Do more work. Take a pay cut. Etc.

      And kindly shove the political rhetoric. Plenty of entities, from both major political parties, don't give a rip about your perceptions about neat little pens to peg people in.
    • RE: Babysitter? No need, give them the iPad


      No, this is what happens when parents turn to Technology instead of parenting their children. This article actually disgusts me. To toss a device to your child and say have at it is obsurd. How about talking to your child and exploring your surroundings instead of being a vegetable on Video games or movies? Technology is a key factor in the death of a quality society.

      Another note i'd like to point out....who is Neilson targeting? The 1% of the country that has enough money to toss around tablet devices? I'm sorry but who in their right mind hands over a $600 device to Timmy Jr? Sorry Timmy but if you touch my tablet i'll smack your hand with a ruler!
      • RE: Babysitter? No need, give them the iPad

        Yeah parenting is really easy when you are driving and your child is misbehaving, or upset in the back seat.

        You can yes spend the entire trip not paying attention to the road, and spend it soothing your child, or you can put on some songs or a movie or let them play with a puzzle on the pad and drive safely while everyone has a safer more pleasant trip.

        Kids are unfortunately not reasonable. Especially when they are too young to even understand what you are saying if you are trying to be a super parent. If your baby is tired, or hungry or just doesn't like being in the car, no amount of soothing from the front seat can change it, but a song and dance works.

        Same at an event. Yes you can try to soother the kids of they are upset but then you have to inconvenience everyone within earshot for an indeterminate amount of time, possibly even hours, or you can put something on that calms them down in seconds and lets everyone continue.

        My wife and I work very hard to not rely on our ipad and phones, but there are times that the alternative is that you ruin everyone's event or the whole trip. As long as you choose your apps/songs/movies well and use it sparingly I think it shows a better parent than one who chooses to punish a kid for not being able to express themselves or understand you. Or who choose to just let everyone suffer along with them.
  • RE: Babysitter? No need, give them the iPad

    My kids are at that awkward age of too old for a baby sitter, too young to stay alone the WHOLE day if I work and they have a snow day or school we skype or Facetime ALL we are together, and I am supervising them, telling them when to eat, to clean up after themselves etc....
  • RE: Babysitter? No need, give them the iPad

    I love how parenting becomes the focus of a discussion group based on technology.

    Stop pointing fingers at everyone else's parenting. Nobody's perfect. Not even you. Chastising (especially adult-to-adult) accomplishes absolutely nothing.
  • important...

    it's important subject ...