The other day some friends of mine were having a discussion on Facebook about how appropriate or inappropriate it is for a seven-year-old to own a NOOK Color. I thought it was a very interesting debate. If you are not familiar with what exactly a NOOK Color is then just ask anyone born in the 21st century.  Pre-teens and elementary age children are the growing customer base  for these electronic readers with tablet capabilities; in other words you can instantly download and read books, as well as surf the internet, check your e-mail, download movies, play games etc.This particular discussion on Facebook definitely had two sides.

Is seven years old  too young to be using a tablet?

There are many who felt that seven was simply too young for such technology. Letting a child have free reign on the internet (which this device essentially has the power to do) is definitely cause for concern. Others argued that you do not have to allow the internet capabilities and the youngster could simply use it for reading, and who in their right mind would deny a child that? Still some techno-phobes whined “What’s wrong with paper books? That’s what I grew up on and I survived just fine.”

Do the educational benefits of a tablet warrant their use by children?

There are many parents who said that their child either already had a device such as a NOOK or they were seriously considering getting them one in the near future. Some parents claimed it was purely for reading while others had no hesitation about having their kids connected to the web as long as it meant they would stop begging to use their parents’ iPhones to play angry birds (ok so nobody exactly admitted to this, but I am sure it rings true in more than one family.)


flickr user flickingerbrad

If used wisely, tablets can be a benefit to you and your children.

As far as I'm concerned if you want to encourage your child to read why not package it in a way that they can relate to? Whether or not we old folks want to admit it, we live in a technological world and we can either fight against it or learn how adapt to it and make it work for us.

The controversy over children and the use of such devices is not going away anytime soon. I say we  embrace technology yet use it wisely. Set limits as to how and when NOOKs, iPads, Kindles and other tablets can be used. Monitor your children, know what they are playing, reading and looking at. By all means get involved, sit down with them and do these things together.  (Check out my next post on some of the top apps out there for children.)

Do you have an opinion on this subject? I know that a lot of parents out there do. Please feel free to leave a comment.

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