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Summary:

If you’re a parent with an iPhone or iPod touch, chances are your kids are dying to play with it. And a majority of parents who own such devices let their kids do just that, at least once a week, a study conducted by MTV’s Nickelodeon […]

iphones1 If you’re a parent with an iPhone or iPod touch, chances are your kids are dying to play with it. And a majority of parents who own such devices let their kids do just that, at least once a week, a study conducted by MTV’s Nickelodeon has found. The motivation for parents? They see it as a source of entertainment, education — and plain ole distraction.

While most kids are using their parents’ iPhones or iPod touches at home, parents are also forking them over while they’re waiting for appointments or sitting in the car. More often than not, kids are using them to play games — a usage for which parents, the study found, are “willing or eager” to pay for. We wonder whether this will cut into the market share of handheld video game devices, such as Nintendo’s DS or Sony’s PSP. More importantly, what’s the appropriate age at which to buy your kids an iPhone or iPod touch of their own? Parents, please weigh in with your thoughts.

Some other interesting facts from the study:

  • A whopping 98 percent of parents find the iPod touch kid-friendly, while 84 percent said the same for the iPhone.
  • Most parents supervise their kids’ use of the iPod touch and iPhone.
  • Parents’ biggest concern with their kids using the iPhone or iPod touch is they may view “inappropriate or unsafe content.”
  1. As a parent of two, I completely agree with this study. We always use our ipod touch as tool for distraction. In fact, it has got us out of buying our kids a DS/PSP. The cost of apps, and their wide choices make it a no brain decision. We prefer our kid does stuff like word searches and math exercises rather than play more classic games.

    As for those parents who are worried about them accessing ‘inappropriate content’, the solution is quite simple…make sure your ipod doesn’t have any. You are still the gatekeeper.

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  2. “Parents’ biggest concern with their kids using the iPhone or iPod touch is they may view “inappropriate or unsafe content.”

    Make sure they don’t have access to any dictionaries. The resulting trauma may destroy their developing minds and commit a percentage of their income to counseling for the rest of their lives.

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  3. Stacey Higginbotham Thursday, August 6, 2009

    My biggest fear is that my daughter will break my iPod Touch rather than see inappropriate content. It’s an expensive toy for a kid to play with.

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  4. They’re fantastic movie players on long flights. I pack about 12 movies into an iPhone 2G and it can play them for about 6-8hrs. They’re indispensible on those 28hr flights to Asia.

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  5. My nieces love playing with my iPhone — the touchscreen interface seems to be intriguing for younger kids. The older one loves the games — especially Super Monkey Ball. I don’t let them use it unsupervised, though. As Stacey says, it’s an expensive toy to break.

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  6. Holy cow my 3 years old certainly like to play my iPhone. He skillfully flip through my photo album without any direct instruction from me. He has learned to use the camera. He has taken a lot of avant garde pictures, often covered half of the lens with his finger. I do not like him to mess with my phone because it drains my battery and he often mess up the app icon by accident. But I think it is a testimonial on the easy of use of the touch screen UI.

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  7. I bought my iPhone 3GS on a Sat, 7/11. On Monday, I left at 4AM on a business trip and took it with me. At 5AM, my 13-year old daughter called me at the airport and cried that I took the iPhone (instead of my old LG Vu which had been passed down to my son.) In a moment of weakness, I agreed to buy her an iPod touch for her July birthday, but not until Sept when I expect the new touch to arrive. (She can’t upgrade her phone until next Aug.)

    My 10-year son, also a July birthday, asked if he too could have an iPod touch; and I made the same deal. He pleaded with me to leave my iPhone at home this week since he’s finished with camp. He told me to sell his DS and DS games. So far, he’s been happy with trying out all the free games, but he’s making a list of games to buy. When we go out with friends who have children and who have a iPhone/touch, he spends at least a part of the time playing wifi games with them or against them.

    The phenomenon is real.

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  8. I bought my 2 years old an ipod touch the day after she broke my iphone. She felt on the ground holding to it. Even though this is an expensive device, it is much cheaper than replacing another iphone. Also she used it quite a bit during our trip to Europe last month, and just for that this was a great investment. She watches tv shows (e.g.: caillou, curious george, etc), home-made movies – some recorded on the 3GS by her mom prior to this european trip,- and she plays games (e.g.: puzzles, match, etc.). Also we agreed that she can only have it during long trips in the car, sometimes when we go to a restaurant, or once a week, often during the weekend.

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  9. I have a great photo for your article… my 2 y/o son nursing while playing with the iPod. Besides Sesame Street videos he loves the educational games like letter matching, dinosaurs, animals and street racing. We had been on the road in hotels and it was a life saver to keep him busy. He does rearrange icons and trash programs, requiring a clean install from backup. Whoever makes a lock that will prevent system and application changes will make a fortune. http://www.flickr.com/photos/40709336@N04/3790332359/

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  10. Oh, yeah, for certain the handheld game market is a goner. This became apparent last month when by 9-year-old’s Nintendo DS was stolen. It just so happened that I had upgraded my old iPhone 2G to the 3GS that same week….and the instant my son saw my new phone, he said “hey dad, I have a great idea, instead of getting a new DS to replace the one that got stolen, why don’t you just give me your old iPhone”. With no service on it, its basically a iPod touch + camera.

    He is thrilled and I saved $150.

    NOW the only thing that is needed is an easier way for me to give him a limited iTunes account – so I can put a few dollars in every now and then. The only options are gift cards and a regular allowance, neither of which work (you need a credit card to do the first, and the second is too rich for my blood). Also, I’d love to see an option that sends me a notice of everything he downloads!

    Now my 6-year-old is wondering where her iPhone is…

    Dan

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    1. I thought you can buy an iTunes gift card to buy music and movies with. Surely they must have one also for programs.

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    2. If your email address is the one he uses fit his iTunes account, it will send you daily updates of what he downloads. And you could agree on giving him a $10 gift card every month. That’s not unreasonable. I’m 13 and I have an iPhone 3GS and an iPod touch. They are very good time killers. My parents make me pay for my own content using my debit card, but that’s not unfair at all.

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