The Guardian is reporting new research that suggests a third of pre-school children in the UK have their own iPad or a similar tablet that they use for an average of one hour and 19 minutes every weekday, often on their own without a parent or guardian.
The study found that in households that have tablets, 31% of children aged five and under have their own tablet; among even the youngest children ownership is widespread with a quarter of those under three having a tablet of their own.
Researchers are now calling for further support and guidance for parents, and are proposing “family digital literacy programmes” in early years settings and schools, to help parents support their children’s use of apps and tablets.
Researchers found that of those aged between three and five, 37% have their own tablet. They are most likely to use them from 4-6pm during the week, but use is more evenly spread at the weekend when children play on their tablets for an extra four minutes each day on average.
Many children are allowed to play independently, with more than a third (35%) of pre-schoolers using their tablet on their own; they’re most likely to be left on their own at the beginning and end of the day, but 57% of pre-schoolers play on the tablet with a parent or guardian.
Researchers found that while some apps could help children with play and creativity, others apps were less helpful, in particular those aimed at older children, like the highly popular Candy Crush Saga and Angry Birds. They urged parents to choose carefully, use only age-appropriate apps, and find time to play with their children and share their experience while they are on their tablets…
I’m sure no one will be surprised by the scale of tablet ownership and usage amongst young children, but what do you think about the idea of “family digital literacy programmes” in schools?
Good idea? Please let us know why/why not in the comments or via Twitter…
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