Babysitter? No need, give them the iPad

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.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

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


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