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5 reasons why you shouldn’t buy your child an iPad for Xmas

It’s near the top of every child’s Christmas list and, by all accounts, parents are only too willing to say yes. Surveys of holiday shopping trends suggest that iPads are flying out of Apple stores at the rate of over 10 every minute.

Tech experts and regular consumers agree that the iPad is a fabulous device, with little or no current competition. Plus, haven’t we read that it’s become more of kid gadget, with hundreds of apps focusing on the very young (under 10) audience?

However, before you join the lines at the check-out and dig deep for the $500+ that it will cost you, there are a few things you might want to consider. Here are five reasons why you might want to skip the iPad and head to the toy store instead!

1. The iPad is a very fragile device. Even Apple devotees will tell you that a lot of their products are very fragile. The blogosphere is full of stories of broken screens and extremely expensive repairs. Are you sure your 8-year-old will treat this expensive device with the respect it deserves?

2. The current iPad may soon be out-of-date.
Despite the rave reviews, the current iPad is still very much a prototype device, with numerous deficiencies and some annoying inconsistencies. There is no multi-tasking capability, no way to connect a printer or other peripherals, and it doesn’t play Flash videos. The next version – rumored to be coming in early 2011 – promises to fix many of the current problems.

3. Parental controls are rudimentary at best.
The parental controls on the iPad are basically the same as those on the iPhone, offering an all-or-nothing approach to browsing and downloading apps. Plus, setting-up rigorous parental controls will take away a lot of the features that make the iPad attractive and go a long way to justifying the price.

4. Do you really need another electronic device in the house? With a desktop computer, laptops, a gaming console, smartphones, and maybe an e-reader, do you really need to add an iPad to the collection of dust-gathering devices? While the iPad may consolidate some of the features of the other devices, it doesn’t quite replace any of them. That’s also one more charger to look for!

5. $500 for an 8-year-old?!! Even by Apple’s standards, the iPad is expensive. The cheapest Wi-Fi-only 16GB model costs $499. The go-anywhere 3G version starts at $629 and that’s without the cost of a data plan. For any child under 13 years of age, that’s an extremely expensive gaming tablet!

Are you planning on buying an iPad for your child this holiday? Let us know the reasons why you think it’s a good idea!

Comment by Milcah, posted 12/20/2010, 7:31 PM:

Yeah, I still have to spend that kinda money on even myself. Reason 2 is what i've been trying to convince my hubby of. I think he'd have some serious buyer's remorse. My oldest is 8, so they can wait on such advanced technology. Thank you for sharing!
Comment by L il ly, posted 12/17/2010, 5:56 PM:

Yes I do believe you have a point. there are alot of negatives and positives to this I think its very educational for teaching purposes ... and all but its not a good idea fora child to own one of these... For a child get them games ... toys but age appropriate Great post totally agree.
Comment by Jennifer Chatham, posted 12/17/2010, 2:07 PM:

I think a lot of overly expensive gift buying is going on these days...with all the gidgets and gadgets young folks have today do we REALLY need to be hopping them up on iPads too?? Whatever happened to dolls and trucks for 8 yr. olds? Great review and thank you for sharing it with us all~!!
Comment by Ellen Lebowitz, posted 12/17/2010, 11:54 AM:

Reason #6 for not buying your kid an iPad - it's not light and adults need both hands to hold it. So absolutely, save put the $500.00 bucks toward something else the entire family actually needs. Thank you for this sensible posting.
Comment by Ellen , posted 12/16/2010, 8:12 PM:

I really think that unless the device is a 'need' not a 'want' at that price range and at that age, an IPad is both too pricey and like you mentioned too risky for young kids. They really have enough 'stuff' that is electronic to distract them.
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