Ground rules for the family tablet

One of my very first blog post, when creating our start-up CotCotCot-apps.com in 2011, has been about setting up ground rules for the iPad. As parents of a little girl, we’ve been terribly excited to be offered an iPad by my husband’s employer back in 2010 but very quickly we’ve had to adapt to this additional screen in the house and lay down a couple of ground rules.

We all know how fast a device can suffer and eventually die from a toddler’s uncontroled behavior (I could tell you how my computer got damaged by my baby’s bottle of milk)…

However, it was not only a matter of preserving the tablet’s life… but also a question of kids’ education with regards to screen and media consumption.

We thus thought about a list of potential rules from which parents could pick and choose and adapt to create their own “family iPad use policy”:

  • the iPad’s screen is fragile and doesn’t really like to be spread with jam
  • iPad usage has to be earned (it’s a reward)
  • Ready, Steady, Calculate! (about screen time)
  • Learn to reduce sound level and avoid headphones as long as you can
  • The app store is off limits
  • Consider cutting off Internet access!
  • How to save the device’s battery!

That said, rules are not fun and they can sometimes be quite counterproductive or source of conflicts with our children (not to mention our partners)! That’s when I started to think about drawing pages that kids could color, cut, customize with their parents to form an acceptable list of rules… either available for free on our website or as a coloring book app.

That’s when I met Devi Mallal, a very talented Australian artist, a few of months later to discuss about this new project. We agreed very quickly that we should turn into an app but not just a plain coloring book app… In the end, we singled out 5 simple rules  and developed an app with small games and a coloring page.

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Sources: 

You can read more on our website: What sort of iPad / iPod usage guidelines can I set-up?

In addition, if you want to read additional information about Kids’ screen time, Carisa Kluver from Digital Media Diet is frequently publishing very interesting blog posts on that topic at Digital Media Diet.

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