Mobile computing is great for educational and entertainment purposes. For children, a tablet is the new PC. With an internet connection, it is a powerful

When is it right to start exposing your child to mobile computing?

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Mobile computing is great for educational and entertainment purposes. For children, a tablet is the new PC. With an internet connection, it is a powerful tool.

My kids have friends who keep in touch with them and are always talking about watching animated movies and doing assignments on their iPad. Yesterday, one of my son’s US-based friends offered to help him setup a Cartoon Network account and required his email account.

Of course, my kids have had their own email accounts created for them over a year ago, so that was no problem. However, they aren’t using them much right now. I have the impression that of they have access to a personalised device each, they will use technology more and get savvy faster.

Both my kids already know how to use Google for their home work. Either they use the home PC or highjack a tablet from mom or dad. I have heard them vocalist the desire to own theirs. They want greater liberty.

But then, the risks are there – the Wild Wild West that the internet is scares me as a parent. My son is only ten. His sister is eight. Of course, if given personal devices, some rules as to when to use them will have to be laid down, or else school work will also suffer.

I want those kids as comfortable and proficient in today’s world of technology as fast as possible. They will not grow up disadvantaged in this new world, if I can help it. Yet parenting is a delicate task with a lot of responsibilities involved.

Do you have kids? How early did you expose them to mobile technology, especially tablets and mobile internet? How are you handling the issues involved?


  1. “Ehen” would seem to suggest “time” or “what age”.

    No hard and fast rules here.

    depends on the specific child (rate of mental and social development), and the culture.

    It is like asking when to discuss “sexuality education” (or respond to matters relating to sex) with a young child.

    The teacher (or teaching, or exposure) emerges when the student is ready.

    Apart from medical or security issues, it will be apparent when a particular child can handle any sort of technology.

    some children can drive at thirteen (illegal, yes!). Some adults are not mature enough emotionally to handle the wheels!

  2. Ten and eight? They should be able to handle technology. Parental controls on pcs will help here. You can limit which sites they visit, games they play and for how long.

  3. @abimbola,how do you achieve those restrictions in your absence? I am really interested in this as I plan to encourage my daughter to be tech savvy. she is still too young though..less than a year old. However, I expect there to be some sort of age restriction device or app/ program that one can use to not only restrict the content they view but also monitor it.

  4. My God daughter is three years old and watches programmes and interacts with books and games via the “family tablet”. A friend’s 14 year old son only got a laptop when he needed it to do his homework. Other friends bought their 16 year-old a tablet and she was totally surprised by the gift – all of her schoolwork was done via the family pc or laptop.

    My thinking about computing and children hasn’t changed over the years. With ownership comes responsibility, and most young people take these things for granted without realising sometimes the responsibility and implications of ownership. I would not give any child of mine anything like a tablet or laptop until they are old enough and responsible enough to deal with it, and as far as I’m concerned, that has to be in secondary school.

    And if they want it bad enough, they will have to earn it (which is exactly what happened with the 14 year old and his laptop).

  5. Belushi, on a windows PC for example, you can set the the time limits your child is allowed to logon to the system, block some specific programs, choose an age-rating level for the games they can play. You can do this after setting a user account for each child.
    It’s under control panel in windows 7, u can just search for it from the start menu.

  6. 2boys, 4&1.

    They are already exposed to Phones and Laptops.

    They certainly use it under guidance and special guest account on PC. I have also heard of apps on iPad that can lock the screen to specific apps.

    Children should be allowed to use these gadgets under guidance as early as possible.

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