Should Your Toddler Have an iPhone?

iPhoneGone are the days when parents could hand children a wooden spoon for entertainment—some parents are reaching for a glitzier, prettier, and more high-tech way of distracting their kids: the iPhones. Since the NYTimes featured the article “Toddlers’ Favorite Toy: The iPhone” this past Sunday, parents have been weighing in. 

Some are horrified at saturating their children with another cold screen that stunts “creative play” (goodbye sky and sunshine) while others are asking, “Why not?”  If the iPhone helps give parents a few quiet minutes while shopping in supermarkets, talking on the phone, traveling in the car, and flying on the plane…then, the iPhone is a miracle worker and cyber life saver.  Toddlers can learn through educational apps and teach their parents how to use certain features, too.  However, some parents are finding that granting their children access to the iPhone is a double-edged sword: kids may be quiet for a brief time, but they grow fussier and louder when they have limited access or when it’s taken away.

Would you let your toddler play with the iPhone?  At what age would you allow your kids to have one?

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  1. by Liza

    On October 21, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    I think it’s ok for a child to play with an iPhone or iTouch on occasion. Limiting use just like we would limit access to television is up to the parents. A variety of stimuli are good for us, and especially helpful on long trips!

  2. by Amy

    On October 21, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    My 3 yrs old son learned alot from playing on my iPhone. I think it’s okay for them to play on it, but having one of their own is just crazy. Why would a young child need to own one?

  3. by Rene

    On October 21, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    I agree with the others, it’s ok to let them have occasional use of it to play on with appropriate apps, but to have their own is just out right crazy… ( This Mommy does not even own one myself, so my kids dont even get to play on one, and it’s ok, they survive)

    Rene’

  4. by Jean Griffith

    On October 21, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    No, I don’t think a 3 year old child should have or play with an IPOD. I really don’t know where this world is coming to, I have one grandson and all I know is that my kids when they were younger and now my grandson rather play with the box that a toy comes in instead of the toy. We as parents and grandparents need to get a check on what is important, and buying expensive gadgets for the children is just setting them up to be young adults with the gotta have everything up to date and now.

  5. by Kara

    On October 22, 2010 at 6:38 am

    I don’t think a 3 year old should have an IPOD. I think it okay for them to occasionally use some aps or listen to some age approprite songs (stuck in traffic, waiting in long lines).

  6. by Shellie Marquize

    On October 22, 2010 at 8:52 am

    My 4 yr. old spends a lot of time waiting at her siblings ball practices and etc. I amamazed at how she can entertain herself with nothing at all. The only time she ever asks to play with my phone is when she is tired out and doesn’t feel like entertaining herself.I see nothing wrong with that. Our kids need to have balance, and yes, that does include the tech world these days.

  7. by Iraida

    On October 22, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Personally, I think is great!! I have an autistic child whose being using a computer, cell phone, remote control and any other electronic very well. He knows all the programs, buttons, menu and so on and on. Now he wants an iPad so bad.
    I think iPad will be very useful and educational, especially for children with learning disability. The screen is pretty big and pictures are very easy to see.

    I have seen iPad from my friend and it’s a really impressive app for little ones to learn on & the design & graphics are awesome! The content is vast, covering recognition of things, colors, numbers, shapes, animals – all familiar objects that they just love! The app is full of great graphics, interactive tools & sound effects.

  8. by Cheyenne

    On October 22, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    My 3 year old likes to play on the ipod touch and thats fine, but I would never dream of buying him his own! It would probably get broken in the first week he had it!

  9. by Lisl

    On October 22, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Recently while waiting for stiches in the emergency department we were relieved to have our iphone. We were able to download some free and inexpensive games to take our 4 year old’s attention off his terrible boo-boo and the extremely long wait. I can say it saved a lot of headache in an envirnoment not meant for preschoolers.

  10. by Pam

    On October 22, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    While an iphone can be entertaining during long waits, it would be better for young children to take a more active role in entertaining themselves. Books, crayons, or small toys that encourage creativity & imagination would be a better choice. We’re giving our 13yr old son a “plain cellphone” for Christmas…he’s one of the few kids in his grade who doesn’t yet own his own phone. We take two 18hr+ car trips each year with our 4 kids, no DVD or handheld electronics, just books & music on CD & whatever else the kids want to bring, and we have a great time! I think giving our children too much technology too early will backfire in terms of their creativity, physical activity, attention (rates of ADHD are much higher in young children exposed to >3hrs screen time/day), & materialism.

  11. by tiffany

    On October 22, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    what??? i dont even have an iphone. plus theyre way to breakable for my 3 year old.

  12. by Kate

    On October 22, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Kids should be able to play with an iphone. If you are on a long trip you can take several “games” for the kids to play without taking up much room.

  13. by Mallory

    On October 22, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    I think we are relying on gadgets too much these days…get the children outside- explore, see living things, take time to color with them, read with them. We rely on other things to entertain our kids.

  14. by Leah

    On October 22, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    Kids, and adults for that matter, are already exposed to way too much “screen time.” While I do think there are learning opportunities to be had from screen technologies, I do not want my child to have such ready access.

  15. by Skye

    On October 22, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    My 3 year old neice uses my SIL or Brothers iPhone to keep busy while spending time waiting at the hospital or doctors office as she battles cancer. I think it is very cute how she knows how to use it and to watch her little fingers move. :)

  16. by Mary

    On October 23, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Iphones can be a fun learning tool but I don’t think toddlers need to have their own. Using one to help pass the time when the little ones are antsy is okay but whatever happened to games like I Spy? I always bring a bag of goodies along with us when I know we’ll have to wait. I have books, crayons, notebooks, cars, etc. to help occupy my sons time. He’ll be exposed to enough technology as he grows, I want our time together to be interactive.

  17. by Joanna

    On October 23, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    I think that a three year old is too young to have their own iphone. I understand them possibly using the apps on occasion, but definitely have one that is their own. I know technology is readily available, but what does a three year old need a phone for anyway? It’s not like they are already passing around their phone numbers to have conversations with their friends. Their biggest friend at that age is usually mommy and daddy still.

  18. by Krystin

    On October 23, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    I don’t let my kids play with my cell phone. I never have. They know it’s off limits.

  19. by Corrina Boyle

    On October 25, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    I believe that the ipad is suitable for ages 3 and up perhaps. But that’s also depending on the child. That means that not all 3 yr. olds should be playing with the ipad. Educational it can be, however it’s an expensive tool. The child must learn first to respect the equipment. The ipad like so many other electronics are very pricy & smaller children don’t understand to be careful, be gentle or even comprehend that the equipment needs to be handle very carefully. I also believe that an ipad could be used for toddlers but ONLY in the presence of an adult to ensure that the ipad is being handled properly & not being mishandled accidently.

    The ipad is very educational with its’ many apps and most toddlers could really benefit! I hope to be a winner as my husband and I were just introduced to it by a friend the other week. It’s amazing and would take place of our desktop.

  20. [...] were dying to know – what do you think of all this? – and as usual, you hit the comments to express your [...]

  21. by Jennifer

    On October 28, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Our son liked to play with our cell phones and ipods and it seemed harmless enough until he broke the ipod! We replaced it and now he can’t play with them.

  22. by Heather Russell

    On October 28, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    I have four daughters and they all love to play with my iphone. I only allow them to play certain games. I think it has taught them sharing as well as I have them set the internal timer for 10 minutes and they have to hand it over to the next one as soon as they are done, even if they are in the middle of a game.

  23. by Evita

    On October 28, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    I have been a nanny and I will say that kids that are born in this century of technology are drawn to the phones, computers. But I still think that they should not play on them – it is very impersonal and they do not learn people skills. The best think for kids at that age is to be outside, run, play, pretend… computers, TV, phones – lets leave them for adults!

  24. by Robert

    On October 28, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    I think it is ok. especially when going on long trips because they need to be entertained someway i had one and it was the best thing ever to keep my little neice entertained on long trips it was nice and quiet and i was able to block internet acces so they couldnt go online.

  25. by MMINN

    On November 1, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Going to a busy restaurant with toddlers? My iPhone keeps both of my kids quiet with fun interactive games so they can stop fighting each other and I can have uninterrupted conversation with my wife…

  26. by An-Su

    On January 27, 2011 at 11:39 am

    My iPod touch has been a lifesaver. It makes the day of a sometimes frazzled mom easier. My 2½ year old navigates his way through various apps or movies.

    We do monitor the time he spends using it just like television. I can not imagine a life without it.

  27. by Mauro

    On November 22, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Peculiar content, exactly a few things i wanted to find.