When iPads, iPods and iPhones cause an iPain


iPain #1- Astronomical bills from the iTunes store due to security lapse on your part

You see Apple devices everywhere these days be it on the train or just strolling down the road, and very often parents, desperate for some “me-time”, allow these devices to play babysitter to their tech-savvy offsprings for a short period of time. I too am guilty of it. But recent disturbing news of kids racking up tens and hundreds of dollars worth of purchases on the Apple iTune store have made me sit up and pay attention to ensuring that I won’t have a similar “heart attack” when I get my bills at the end of the day.

According to Apple spokeswoman Fiona Martin, “In regards to concerns relating to young children and in-app purchases, there is a setting on all iPad, iPhone and iPod touch devices. The restrictions preferences are located under Settings > General > Restrictions > Allowed Content (In-App Purchases) OFF. When this is activated, in-app purchases is turned off.” You can also turn “Installing Apps” OFF under restrictions which completely removes the App Store icon from your iPad screen.”

Protect yourself by making sure that all these measures are in place before you pass your device to your kid.

iPain #2- This time it gets physical

The other thing that disturbs me about these smart devices are how kids have been allowed to spend hours by their parents who justify his time on the device by claiming that the brain teaser game boosts their kid’s intellect.

Well, whilst junior’s brain gets a boost, he might be developing carpal tunnel syndrome, back and shoulder pains, as well as developing issues with his vision. It is thus important to impose time limits on these gaming devices.

Some steps you can take for precaution:

1) Reduce the brightness of the screen to a comfortable level- not too dark, but not glaring either.

2) Taking twenty minute vision breaks where the kid is made to look at trees or objects in a distance. Use a kitchen timer or the timer in your phone to help you keep track of time.

3) Keep each gaming session limited to 20-30 minutes each time and ensure the kid stretches in between. Alternate gaming sessions with outdoor exercises and other activities.

4) Limit the total amount of gaming time spent a day to one charge of the battery or 1 hour, depending on the age of the child. If Junior is always on the gaming device, it is easy for him to get “hooked”. It is best to get him used to time limits by using kitchen timers for example, as this will further inculcate self-discipline.

Geraldine Wee

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