Should you buy an iPad for your kids?

The burning question we had on holiday this year had nothing to do with sunscreen. It was whether we should invest in an iPad. Or rather, should we invest in an iPad now or wait until there’s 3G here in the UK or wait until they improve the battery life or perhaps even wait until they come in different colours.

All these questions necessitated lingering in the Apple store whenever we visited Barton Creek Square mall or the Domain in Austin, mainly to play Plants vs Zombies.

The problem of course is that everyone in the family really wants an iPad. I want to use Flipboard and cart it around London. My husband wants to be able to comfortably surf on the sofa. The children have plans to download games onto it (thanks, Uncle Ian, for showing them your library of mindless time-wasters!).

My fellow CyberMummy partners Susanna and Sian both have them and love them, so I know it would be a huge hit. That’s really the problem. My husband would want to use it, I would want to use and the children would develop withdrawal symptoms when separated from it. Whenever one of them picked it up, I would be seized by an urgent iPad task I had to perform. I would grow resentful about having to be “grown up” about it and let them have a go. Sure I could read books on it, assuming I’d ever get that much screen time.

If only we lived in Australia. We could book a domestic flight on Jetstar Airlines and rent iPads for the entire family for $40. Which begs the question, just how much would you pay for an iPad. A trip down under is way too much, the price in American still feels a bit dear, but £10 and the cost of a domestic UK flight? I’m sold.

UPDATE: Susanna has written about her iPad and its use as a kiddie networking tool.

Image: Francesco Marino /

I’m a journalist and blogger. Previously I was The Times’s online lifestyle editor and Alpha Mummy blogger. Now I’m co-founder of BritMums and BritMums Live! – our annual blogging conference that draws hundreds. Follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Google Profile+


  1. September 7, 2010 / 11:51 am

    I know this is total heresy, but I have one and hardly use it. I’m a slave to my iphone but the ipad is just a bit …big. I know, I know, I must be missing something…

  2. September 7, 2010 / 1:01 pm

    I LOVE MY IPAD. MY KIDS LOVE MY IPAD. Hubby doesn’t care. It’s a big iPhone (without the phone bit 😉 DD must have better eyes than I have, because the big presentation screen is EVERYTHING. I want 10 of these.

  3. September 7, 2010 / 1:22 pm

    I have seen Sian’s iPad! It came with us when went out for lunch and I have to admit to absolutely loving it. I definitely want one but I’d like an iPhone first (especially having read Dulwich Divorcee’s comment!). If/when I do have an iPad, my child is coming nowhere near it and that’s that! She can have the computer instead. The iPad would be all mine.

  4. September 7, 2010 / 3:51 pm

    I must admit I can’t see the difference between the I-pad and the I-phone, except of course, the size. Perhaps wait until the price comes down a tad?

  5. September 7, 2010 / 11:30 pm

    @Dulwich Divorcee – are you hinting that you want to gift me yours? Thank you!
    @A Modern Mother – does Apple pay you?
    @Rosie Scribble – Sian’s was the first one I saw in person. I tried not to drool.
    @Expat Mum – ever sensible. But the heart wants what the heart wants.
    An update: Husband has just come home and refused to go to bed until I handed over the iTouch because his new routine is to fall asleep watching Casualty on it. It takes him an entire week to see an episode.

  6. September 10, 2010 / 1:17 pm

    OH MY GOD the minute you get an iPad you will NOT want to share it with anyone! I don’t share mine and everyone knows it in the family. Mind you the kids are too young still and they use it to look at their reflection, that’s ok I can cope with that although I am starting to worry about the level of vanity in this house….

  7. November 17, 2010 / 3:15 am

    oh I love this post with all my heart!!*

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *