Let’s face it; we live in the age of technology. Our children are surrounded by a plethora of electronic gadgets and gizmos – and they can operate all of them. So, the question arises, “Is it alright for children to play games on devices such as smartphones and tablets?”.
The answer to this question is not set in stone. My children have played games on our phones for years. There is no magic age that a child reaches that qualifies them to handle the responsibilities of holding these hi-tech gadgets. It is easy, even for adults (I am speaking from personal experience), to accidentally purchase an app on a smartphone/tablet. This possibility is frightening in the hands of younger children, and even some adults. Cellphone bills can easily skyrocket when a preschooler sees icons of all of his/her favorite characters. All it takes is a couple of taps on the cute pictures and you own a variety of unwanted games. Parents should also be aware that there are explicit games and apps available for purchase. However, there are parental controls that can prevent these accidental purchases from being made. A quick call to your service provider can take care of the matter. Some companies allow you to place a pin code on the app store account. This code has to be entered in order to finalize a purchase.
As for children playing the games that are available on these devices, I believe, as with most things, if it is done in moderation it is perfectly acceptable. In fact, many of these games are educational. There are apps that help children with counting and phonics. They are great for a little learning on the go. These games can be a lifesaver when trying to keep a child entertained for fifteen minutes while waiting in a long line or making a long trip in the car. However, you should never hand a child the device in hopes that it will play the role of babysitter or disciplinarian. Children need parental interaction. They need to learn how to behave properly in public. A smartphone should not be treated as a replacement for that. Take the time to count all of the red cars that you pass on the road. Sound out the words on the road signs. Nothing can replace those special teachable moments when you bond with your child. However, playing games on the tablet/smartphone should not be taboo. A quick game as a special treat can be fun. In fact, you can just play along with them!