I’m a big fan of Apple products. My kids have been big iPad users for the past three years. We’re always trying new apps designed for learning or for gaming and my profession has taught me a thing or two about how to manage my kids’ iPad time.
My fascination with Apple started back in the early 90’s when I was working for a major computer chain. The store sold about 90% of IBM PC machines compared to their 10% of Macintosh machines.
As a salesman, I noticed that most of the other sales people avoided selling Macs because they didn’t understand them. They would turn the sales over to the one Mac person and move on to the easier PC sales.
The average PC sale was around $1500 while the average Mac sale was around $2500. So rather than chase the lower price sales with everyone else I decided to learn more about the Macs and make larger sales with virtually no competition.
The first Mac I had was the all in one model called the Classic. It had the little 9” black and white screen but oddly enough I got more use out of that machine then any of the compatibles that I had.
The real selling point was that I was able to put the Mac in front of my wife and she worked it with no problems. With the PC, I was constantly hit with questions on how to do something. On the Mac, well, it just worked and made sense.
Now, zoom forward to today, and that story still stands true. iPods, iPhones, iMacs and now iPads are all successful products because they simply work and are understandable.
When my daughter, Hannah, was three she started playing with my iPad and I was just amazed how well she understood it.
She was swiping, playing and reading anything she could get her hands on. I gave her my first iPad and moved on to buy a 2nd generation iPad for myself. Today, my fiancé, April and I both have newer model iPads, Hannah has a new iPad mini and Noah, who is now three years old, has my older 2nd generation iPad.
After three years of having iPads in the hands of my children I have learned a couple of things I would like to share with you. Here are 11 tips (and warnings) about how best to connect your kids with iPads…
1. Hook it Up
The notion of not having an iPad connected to the Internet sounds great but it’s hard to do. You have to get updates for the apps and many of the games connect to a server on the Internet.
2. Control Access
If you do have an iPad, you should monitor where your kids may happen to be going. I actually have control on our home network where I selectively allow where my kids iPad can connect to and block everything else.
3. Avoid Add-ons
The app may be free but watch out for the trap of purchased add-ons. Does you kid play Dragonvale? If so you have probably been asked to purchase Gems.
4. Set a Ratio
Set a ratio of learning apps versus games. For example, commit to having 5-10 learning apps for every 1 game that is on the iPad.
5. Kids Got Mail
Get your kid an email address and block all mail that can go to it. The reason why is that you can then register their iPad to their email address for things like FaceTime.
6. Make Time for FaceTime
FaceTime??? Yes. Family members call my kids on FaceTime. I call my kids from the train and from work. I even call them when we are in opposite ends of the house. It’s a great way to interact with you kids even when you are away.
7. Teach Care
Teach your kid how to respect their iPad and buy them a case to protect it.
8. Plan for Accidents
Purchase an AppleCare plan for it. They are kids and accidents will happen.
9. Go Wireless
Setup their iPad to Sync wirelessly over you network. That way you can push updates and stuff to their iPad without having to cable it up.
10. Keep it Quiet
Over the ear headphones are a must. I found a pair of Jake, from Adventure Time, headphones at Toy R’ Us this past holiday season and my daughter loves them.
11. Battery Backup
The younger kids may not understand that the battery is drained. Have lots of chargers around and hook it up when it’s not in use.
Most of this is common sense but it’s what I have found to be true. The iPad can be a wonderful learning tool as long as you are in control of it. If you ever have to fly with your children you will find it is a fantastic tool to pass the time. I have a lot of experience with this and other Apple based solutions. If you have a question please feel free to drop me a line and I will answer what I can.
Until next time…Carlos, the Dad Around Town
About the Author
Carlos Randolph is a father of two, technology geek and Tower Lakes resident who loves technology and spending time with his family.
He calls himself “an introverted person who’s an extrovert online” and says he is more of a geek rather than a nerd. And even in the geek category, Carlos characterizes himself as “cool”. (We’re going to have to ask him to elaborate on that one in a future post ;).)
When it comes to sports, Carlos is a big fan of the University of Michigan Wolverines and the Detroit Redwings. He moved to the Barrington area for its top-rated schools, unique businesses and great people.
When he’s not at work, you’ll find Carlos taking time to enjoy the many things to do in and around Barrington with his 6-year-old daugher, Hannah, 3-year-old-son, Noah and fiancé, April.
Carlos and his family are also big supporters of Wellness Place, an organization providing cancer support services in our area. He’s again leading a team in the Wellness Place Community Cancer Walk and Run coming up at The Arboretum of South Barrington on Sunday, May 19th. Their team, called “Hannah’s Hope” is named after Hannah Randolph and they’re walking in memory of Hannah’s mom, Margie, who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2012. CLICK HERE to find team “Hannah’s Hope” on Facebook and, to find the “Hannah’s Hope” fundraising page, CLICK HERE. Wellness Place is a resource for cancer patients and their families to go to for support during and after struggles with Cancer. For more information about the event, visit WellnessPlace.org.
Photo Credit: Marcin Wichary via Compfight cc