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Why you should get your kid a tablet for Christmas

Preteens, rejoice. The grown-ups have a compelling reason to consider getting you a tablet this year. Adults, listen up.

By Dec 5, 2013 12:40PM

This post comes from Adam Levin at partner site on MSN MoneyThere isn’t a holiday season that goes by that most parents aren’t treated to the seasonal joy of caroling neighbors and cajoling children. There’s always something  your kids want that you don’t want to give them, whether because it’s too expensive, too mature or too hard to find. But this year, you should seriously consider giving him or her that pricey iPad (or other tablet) that adorns many an underage wish list this year -- not for their sake, but for your own.

After all, I think we parents can admit that our kids -- even the ones who haven’t mastered long division yet -- probably know as well as we do (if not better) how to use our devices, so whatever controls we think we’re setting, we’re probably not -- and that’s Santa Claus © Corbisif we don’t have to ask them to set them for us. But in reality, most of us are as rigorous about installing parental blocks and monitoring programs as we are about securing our smartphones and password-protecting our computers -- which is to say, not very.

But in the meantime, our iPads and tablets contain a whole lot of data that can be put at risk by little fingers: banking and credit card company apps, shopping apps, even geo-location data on social media sites or pictures that tell our "friends" and "followers" not only who we are, but where we are, what we have and what we're doing. Giving your tablet to your kid will very likely impact your search history -- what your search engine knows you're looking for and finds out you’re looking at -- which can have legal consequences (pirated downloads or illegal imagery, for instance) or it can just annoy you by showing you less-tailored results.

Meanwhile, if a child is under 13, most companies -- from Facebook to search engines and beyond -- aren’t allowed to offer them accounts or track what they do. (Rep. Joe Barton of Texas and Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts recently introduced legislation to extend that prohibition to children up to age 15.) So if your little (or not-so-little) ones had their own iPads and their own accounts, that which can be traced back to you won't be.

But the solution isn't to deny your kids access to Angry Birds or whatever educational program you’d like to believe they spend just as much time playing. (Besides, every parent knows that an out-and-out prohibition against anything is more likely to result in extraordinary efforts to do that thing anyway.) Instead, set aside the money and get them an iPad of their very own -- and make sure the Genius Bar helps you set up all those parental controls.

That way, your child gets what she or he wants, you get the privacy protections you need and you both get the security of knowing that his or her online behavior won’t impact either of your lives for a little while longer.

At least until they figure out how to download SnapChat.

More from

Dec 5, 2013 8:47PM
Get them an iPad this year and next year, they're want a new car. I just love how MSN spends our hard earned money, while they sit on their **** and write B.S. stories like this one! 
Dec 6, 2013 10:27AM
Dec 6, 2013 10:16AM
What on earth is wrong with us adults?  Why on earth is it too hard for us to put parental controls on our own computers & tablets?  Why do we not want them using our gadgets in our/public space where we can keep an eye on what's happening?   Why on earth should we make young kids feel any more entitled than they already think they are by giving them such an extravagant present, even if we can afford it monetarily?
Dec 5, 2013 8:34PM
i found an incredible deal on an android tablet for $59 online. it has all the stuff any other tablet has. mainly skype so i can make calls from my house via wifi and not burn through my 400 minute vonage account and i don't have to sit in front of the computer at my desk to make skype calls. anyway, i would never pay $400-$500 for a tablet. i figured the same slave labor that's making Ipads are making these things in China so take the risk. the website is advertised at the yahoo home page. if your kid breaks it you'll feel alot better than if you paid $500 for an Ipad that does the same thing. think of it as buying a used car for your 16 year old to learn how to drive instead of a new one that they will most likely trash anyway.
Dec 6, 2013 1:30PM
No "app" for minors. Technology is turning people into mindless zombies.
Dec 6, 2013 1:30PM

What idiotic advice. I'm glad my kids are grown.


(Besides, every parent knows that an out-and-out prohibition against anything is more likely to result in extraordinary efforts to do that thing anyway.) You think so ?

You need to teach the little smart *sses what I taught mine. You engage me in a battle of wills and you will lose every time. You can have the high end, high tech toys when you can pay for them.

Dec 6, 2013 11:57AM
Let's see if I can boil down this article to its shortest form...

1) Go buy Apple products! Hurry!
2) Adults are too stupid to configure computers. Better leave it to children, or better yet, "geniuses" (metrosexuals) that work for Apple.

Hey, I could write for MSN!
Dec 7, 2013 10:37AM
Newton, Einstein, Lincoln, how did these great men EVER survive without ipads, and so called educational games? Oh I know, adults didn't outsource their responsibility to technology, instead they actively participated in their kids education. What will be said of the future for our kids?
Dec 10, 2013 2:25AM
a bunch outdated adults getting all hyperventilated about kids getting something useful. maybe a checker board and some number 2 pencils would be wonderful.
Dec 6, 2013 4:15PM
Tablets = messaging devices to await government instructions

Drones = future robotic arm of the state for DOMESTIC intelligence gathering (at your home window) and enforcement (those won't be Amazon packages arriving)

Dec 10, 2013 2:12AM

Ha! My grandson is only 5 yr old  and his mother must have seen this article, because he wanted a ipad and threw a rotten fit like he normally does. Yep, he got it and destroyed it in 1 month.

Bring back the good old spanking/disciplining days.

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