This rather startling statistic clearly underlines the burgeoning popularity of internet-enabled gadgets among young children, across the world.
With new, snazzy iPhone apps for kids - dedicated exclusively for English learning and storytelling - being launched by companies on a regular basis, apps have gradually become a part of the elementary education of pre-schoolers. Clearly, parents need to keep a eye on how these apps are being used, and here are some tips to help:
- Get a reliable anti-virus/malware program installed - If you are careful enough about choosing kids' apps from leading mobile application development companies - chances of them having viruses and/or bugs will be minimal. Even so, it would be a good idea to set up updated anti-virus/spyware software in your iPhone. Apps often access web pages, and there's no telling in which way a malicious malware might make an entrance.
- Limit the time that your kid spends with the iPhone. Even if your child is engrossed in a wonderful storytelling app for kids, (s)he should never put excessive strain on his/her eyes. Do not let your child use the iPhone for more than 1-2 hours at a time. Also, make sure that the app development graphics used are kid-friendly.
- Avoid installing too many kids' apps - Despite all the curiosity and hunger for knowledge of your child, (s)he is still just a kid. They don't need all the apps in the world to keep themselves occupied. Downloading a large number of paid apps for kids can be a rather expensive proposition, and too many of these applications can even affect the operation speed of your iPhone.
- Make sure that no passwords are given out - There are many mobile apps for children, which seek access to the email and social media accounts of kids. Phishing emails can also be sent, promising lucrative rewards to little children, and asking for personal information for such spam offers. Caution your kid against sharing any confidential password on mobile applications. Once every day, check each of the apps, to ensure that passwords have not been stored in them.
- Randomly selected apps will bore your kid - A lively kid not willingly stay glued to iPhone apps, which probably a good thing. You should have a definite idea about the type of apps that your child would actually find interesting. For instance, while looking for storytelling mobile applications, choose one that has all of his/her favorite fairy tales!
- Look for free app samples first - The best iPhone apps for kids are invariably priced at competitive levels - but it still makes sense to check out their free sample/demo versions first. There is always an outside chance that an app would not quite capture the fancy of your young 'un - and you should not have to pay to find that out. In general, look for applications that have quite a few default free features, apart from the optional paid upgrades.
- It's your iPhone, after all - No matter how much you love your kid, you need to remember that (s)he is far from being old enough to own an iOS device. Check your iPhone regularly, for probable battery/screen damages and other symptoms of technical glitches. More importantly, there are plenty of shady characters looking for innocent prey over the web, and you need to make sure that your child is not unknowingly interacting with any such thugs.
- No iPhone during mealtimes and late hours - This is precisely why you should look for iPhone applications for kids that have convenient parental control features. You do not want your darling to keep tapping on a smartphone while being fed, or staying up too late to play with interesting apps. Lock the apps at odd hours, and set some ground rules for app-usage.
- Look for apps that offer interactivity - Your iPhone is much more than an ebook reader, and you need to let your kid take full advantage of the applications installed on the device. Apart from the regular gaming applications, the storytelling apps for kids you choose should also have games, puzzles, quizzes and other elements of interactiveness in them. A kid of 4-5 can't always read for incredibly long periods - (s)he needs some fun breaks from time to time!
- Get rid of outdated apps - And get their newer, better versions. For example, in the initial version of the app Story Time For Kids - there was a minor bug, which was fixed in the next version. Keep an eye out for all such announcements by iPhone application development companies, and install the updates when they become available.
Author's Bio: Ross Smythe is the chief concept developer at Teknowledge Mobile Studio (http://teks.co.in) in India. He writes regularly on the web too, on topics related to educational apps for kids. In here, he highlights how parents can keep a tab on the usage of iPhone apps in their children.