iPads

*Non-EVE related Post*

My son got an iPad for his 9th birthday last year. He saved his pocket money for 12 months to pay for half of it, and we matched his contribution as his present. It was a lesson for him about the value of money, setting goals, and saving.

Not long after my 5 year old daughter’s Speech Therapist strongly recommended we use a Word Articulation App for her, which was available only on the iPad.

Here we were caught out and given a lesson of our own. We couldn’t insist our son allow his sister use of his iPad as he had paid for half of it. We also couldn’t just buy an iPad for his sister as he had to save for 12 months for his, and it wouldn’t be fair.

In the end we purchased an iPad for my wife on her Birthday, and installed the App on it for our daughter. (Thankfully the app was as useful and effective as suggested.) My wife wasn’t overly impressed with this, but it seemed to solve our quandary and to smooth things over I arranged a subscription for an online newspaper for her, connected it to her Facebook and Emails accounts, and to the NAS holding our music and photo collections.

I patted myself on my back for my problem solving skills.

The range of polished apps and games available for the iPad is truly astonishing, and I found myself rather intrigued by some of the games my son was playing. After a while I idly thought about installing some of them on my wife’s iPad.

Here my plans hit a new snag. It turns out my wife loves her iPad; it is by her side and in use constantly. I could install whatever games I wanted, I just wouldn’t be able to play them when she was awake.

My wife – in acknowledgement of my notable efforts over the last 6 months, has been pushing for me to spend some money on myself. (I suspect she has a bit of guilt as she played a part in the implosion of her last job, which had such a negative impact on me.) I don’t normally take her up on these offers, but she was more insistent than usual and I ended up indulgently purchasing an iPad for myself a couple of days ago.

I have started out playing Hay Day and Boom Beach, both of which I am finding amusing if distracting.

It was interesting comparing my progress against my son’s. He seems quite adapt for his age at games such as Clash of Clans, and learns through his friends, mistakes and watching battle replays. In Hay Day however I surpassed his month long effort within two days. It was a reminder that he relies on goals set by example and mimicking the behaviour of others. That serves him well in many combat type games. Hay Day however rewards production planning and efficiencies, maximizing profits on your sales and so on, but doesn’t give you a clear way to learn how. At his age, my son doesn’t really grasp the intricacies of the concepts.

I always find examples like this curious. It is easy to get caught in the trap of seeing your child as being much older than their years. In many ways they are far more educated and capable than we were at the same age. However various aspects of that are an illusion – as tantrums and tears remind, and as does Hay Day.

Now I am facing a new dilemma. My daughter is upset that everyone else in the house has an iPad except her. I was thinking we might get her an iPad mini for her birthday, so that my son doesn’t feel too hard done by as the price is roughly what we matched for his birthday. Unfortunately my daughter has been complaining about the size of her Nexus screen, so that might not be a solution after all.

Such are the trials and tribulations of 1st world problems (and boy has Apple profited from them).

9 thoughts on “iPads

  1. … maybe your son needs a NEW iPad (which you purchase as it’s clearly bribery), and then your daughter gets your son’s ‘hand me down’ iPad.

    Pretty thin hey. The psychological juggling and highwire act you must be performing at the moment with all parties is intriguing.

    Best of luck mate, my kids have moved out, we still play similar games … but with Grandchildren !

    • I had about 2 seconds where I thought that might actually work – then I realised my son would insist on keeping both, so that when one ran out of charge he would switch over to the other!

      Good luck with your Grandchildren – that could get even more complicated!. My parents have 9 grandchildren in total – but because of where everyone lives they end up spending more time and money on 3 of them. I thought that just made logical sense, but boy does it get up the noses of my wife and two of my sisters! Maybe my Dad has it right – he doesn’t much care about what others want, and just pleases himself…

  2. Give your children the choice. A duel to the death or one of them has to be given up for adoption.
    -before finally posting this comment I had a look good read on tvtropes on deadly game shows and the like but nothing really stands out as tailored for children-

    • There would be a strong possibility that the five year old would win a duel to the death. (She is a ferocious little child when she wants to be.) I would however never hear the end of it from my wife, so will have to discount options relating to getting rid of one of them.

  3. Why an ipad though? wouldn’t a cheaper android tab give about the same range of apps? Maybe not as good as an ipad (I myself don’t use apple things nor do I have a tablet, I got my nexus5 and that’s all I need) but it’s cheaper and that way your kid has a tablet too.

    Although I have to admit that I don’t really get why a 5, or even 9 year old would get something like that but I guess that’s the times we live in these days 🙂

    • Both kids already have a Nexus each. They are good value for money, but not all the games and apps used by their friends are available for them. That was probably the source of my son’s drive to get an iPad – because most of his friends used them, and he wasn’t able to join in some of the games they played together. Now that he has both, he certainly strongly prefers the iPad.

      As regards kids using such technology – both kids have been very proficient around laptops and tablets since before they turned 4. Most of their friends, if given the opportunity, are similarly skilled. There is no doubt they get a lot out of them – even if primarily entertainment.

      That reminds me of a situation about 6 months ago. I watched my daughter take photos of her mother on her Nexus while we waiting at my son’s Karate. She then checked through them, deleting the ones that turned out blurry, After picking her favourite she used another application to apply different filters to it, settling on a black and white look she liked. She then made it her background image. She was unfussed and well practised at it – and had obviously worked out how to do it by herself.

  4. Yea… Boo (my 11yo dottir) at 9 saved her chores and sitting money and eventually said she had enough for a laptop… yea, right… I checked and she actually did and she bought an Acer 14″… huh. I had not planned on personal systems for her or my son before Jr. High… but, she earned it and it was her money.

    Needless to say the Acer is now relegated to backup system hooked to a 22″ monitor on her desk and she has my hand-me-down Dell (system I was playing EVE on until I bought my current HP…). My son’s mum has bought him several laptops from his first Chrome book (at 10) to his current Dell… he’s rough on equipment, I’m glad she’s footing that bill!

    Course, it was inevitable anyway… as a Tech I have more than a few older systems sitting around that Boo was starting to bug me about… if she hadn’t saved up, I prolly would have broke down and built her something… I find it so hard to say no sometimes… =]

    • What a great effort of your daughter to do that by the age of nine. That is the sort of thing that makes you proud.

      We gave our son access to technology so early because we saw how beneficial some of the education software was to him. He would spend an hour or two on Reading Eggs a day and basically taught himself how to read (his motivation was updating his avatar and its home within the game). It has also helped him with his peer group at school to be able to play computer games and “talk the talk” in the play ground. Being confident around PCs and iPads also helped him right from the start at school.

      What hasn’t been ideal is the technology to lock down the kids computers and devices. The kids don’t have admin rights and can’t install anything without us typing in passwords, and we use Norton Family software to block sites and send reports each week on what the kids are doing. I was annoyed at how poor most of the software tools were – some (including Microsoft’s) in effect broke the laptops and required full reinstalls to set them right again. Even some of the family friendly DNS had a tendency to block silly things or be unavailable for hours at a time.

      • The other thing about the technology which I should highlight is that it is another way to connect to your kids. My Dad was (is) a difficult man, and at times it would be easier to limit contact with him. However we have always had a connection through hunting and fishing. I hope I might also have that with my kids as they get older, but I know I already have a connection through computers. I’ve played Minecraft with my kids and co-op’d in various games, and they love being able to discuss what they are doing and know I understand. My wife – who has never really been into games and technology, has remarked on this special bond I have with them. I hope it will help as they transition to teenage and then adult years.

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