Teens and Tablets: Consider This Before Adopting the Trend

The latest findings from Pew Research shows that 23 percent of teens have a tablet computer. While still in the minority, this number has been on the rise since devices like Apple’s iPad have saturated the market and become another teen status symbol. With all of the top computer manufacturers making their own tablet devices and prices becoming more competitive, the number of tablet-owning teens is certain to rise in the coming years. Here are some pros and cons to consider before adopting the trend.

Transition to e-Textbooks

Schools across the country are working towards adopting digital textbooks, which students can access on tablets through digital libraries. Currently, 27 percent of teachers for Grades 6 and 12 are using online textbooks in their classes, according to the latest digital learning report from Project Tomorrow. Education administrators are working towards making the transition to e-books in order to prevent wasting their budgets on printed textbooks that are often outdated or easily damaged. When teens own tablets, they can access the digital education resources teachers are offering at school or at home, and spend less energy schlepping heavy books to and from school.

The Downside: 

The distraction of social media apps and games are just a swipe of the screen away. While teachers will undoubtedly be trying to enforce schoolwork over games, have a straightforward conversation with your teen about the importance of staying focused while using the device at school.

Intentional Media Consumption 

Today’s teens are spending less time zoning out in front of the television channel surfing. This generation is used to watching what they want when they want it, thanks to DVR, TiVo and Netflix. However, tablets have taken this to a new level as teens are now using their iPads to rent movies and stream television, according to a recent report from Deloitte. Could this make teens more productive? By watching what they want when they want without the commercials or waiting until the live broadcast could free up more time for them to do homework, work and hang out with friends.

The Downside:

The ability to watch anything anywhere often leads to less sleep, as the bright light of the tablet screen interrupts our natural sleep cues. Only 15 percent of teens report getting the recommended amount of sleep, according to a report from the National Sleep Foundation. Enforce strict usage rules at night to help prevent this from becoming an issue for your teen.

More Transparency

You want to trust your teen’s judgement online, but you’re (and rightly so) skeptical. However, are you doing anything about it? Sure, there are web-based programs you can access to see what your teen is doing online, but do you actually use them? Despite the best intentions, the answer is probably no. However, on an iPad, device usage transparency is much more accessible as long as devices are linked via your iTunes account. By getting your teen the new iPad, you can more easily keep track of what’s happening online via the iCloud browser to see what apps, music and movies are downloaded to ensure that everything is age appropriate.

The Downside: 

If unaware of your monitoring, your teen will not appreciate you spying on them. Be upfront about your monitoring from the start to prevent any loss of trust.
This entry was posted in Education and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.