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That Infamous Washington Post Article


IMG_2463Last week I published an article on the Washington Post, about why we chose to return a tablet that my daughter received as a holiday present. The article, “Somebody gave my 5-year-old a tablet,” has attracted a bit of attention.

Apparently, people feel quite strongly about this issue. I’ve received some pretty irate comments from people finding our decision “juvenile” and “selfish” and advising me to “get a shovel to dig myself out of my cave.” And, my favorite comment:

“Meredith Hale is quite simply out of her mind.”

It seems the article has touched a nerve. It’s even been republished in the New Zealand Herald for some foreign input. And now, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Below is an excerpt and a link to read the full post. I’d love to hear your opinion on this issue!

Suddenly, we were faced with the prospect of our kindergartner owning a tablet, on which she could play games, practice reading, or surf the Internet. On the one hand, it sounded innocent enough. After all, we want her to be comfortable with technology and keep up with her peers. There are plenty of educational apps for young kids – not to mention opportunities for her to keep busy during long road trips or stints at the doctor’s office. Plus, it was a gift from a family member, who wanted to share something special with her during the holidays. We couldn’t object to that.

And yet we had some serious reservations. Talking it over, we came up with a list of reasons we were uncomfortable letting our daughter keep this gift. Read the full article

Returning the gift wasn’t easy (thankfully, we did it before my daughter saw it). We talked to the amazing and generous gift-giver, who tolerates our idiosyncrasies and loves us anyway. And, one day, we’ll explain our decision to our daughter, who will probably roll her eyes and go back to watching The Voice, season 300 (spoiler alert: Blake’s team wins). Of course, by then we’ll be having that conversation via holograph…

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  1. People are always going to have a comment. But at the end of the day, it was YOUR decision to make (with your spouse) for YOUR child. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Tech and kids is a hard thing and we struggled with it ourselves. My eldest children are 9 and 7, so we just got them tablets (the 7 year old only got it because the 9 year old did, however we did not get one for our 4 year old). We severely restrict time and access to it. In fact, they don’t leave the house with them. We will take them on trips, but still restrict time. My 7 year old isn’t as into it. She does like drawing on it and I will buy her some ebooks. My 9 year old is crazy about Angry Birds. It’s more of a reward for him, if he gets his homework done, he can get some time. Most of the time he forgets to ask for that time anyway. Bottom line, we chose what we thought was good for our children and you did too.

  2. Congrats on the wide reach of your article! I probably would have let me daughter keep it, but kudos to you for doing what is best for your family. As long as you and your husband are happy with your decision, that’s all that matters!

  3. You seemed to have hit on a topic that so many of us are struggling with.

  4. Lots of defensive people name-calling. You and your husband made a reasoned decision. It is your decision to make. You write that your daughter uses a tablet when she visits her grandfather. That is something special between them. I am sure she has or will have computer time at school. Neither one of your children will be computer illiterate.
    Congrats on being a global success!

    • Perfectly stated! Your decision was well thought out and all your points make a lot of sense for your family. I can’t believe how many people are judging you for being perfectly rational…not like she’s gonna grow up without technology. Holding off to keep her more present in the world, how could anybody argue with that?! Keep up the good work my dear:)!!

  5. I read some of those comments! I think you just have to laugh them off. People get a little crazy on the internet- especially in the comment section. I think your decision was fine. I don’t think electronics are necessary so young. I would also be a little annoyed if someone bought my child such a big gift without asking me. I probably would have kept the kindle and set limits, but that’s me (haha, I’m not into confrontation).

  6. Congratulations on your published article! I agree with most of the comments here: it was your child and therefore your decision. Yes, people are going to have opinions (much like people in grocery stores or Target will tell you how to quiet your own kid down when she’s being grouchy), but you’re entitled to yours as well. I think your decision was sound: I would’ve done the same thing. Apps and educational games are beneficial, yes: but so are books and social interaction. And they’ve been around far longer than the latest Kindle tablet or Apple Ipad, and have produced far favorable results.

  7. I feel bad for people who use the internet as a tool to call people names. How cowardly and childish, simply because they don’t agree. I think you have very valid reasons for your decision. We got a chrome book from my parents for Christmas. My father wanted to give it to my daughter (she’s almost 7) but I said no b/c I didn’t want her to think it was hers. We called it a family gift. She does some school work on it but I use it too.

  8. I understand why you chose to return it. We do have learning tablets for our four 4 year-old children that they use for a limited time. It is one of a variety of tools we use for learning (including regular trips to the museum, reading, trips to local botanical gardens etc). I think each parent has to choose what is right for the family and you know what works best for you.

  9. umm wow!!! I just read some of those comments and they were awful! I personally do not and would not buy tablets for my kids at such young ages so I agree with you.

  10. This article helped me with my conflicted feeling about my 5, 3, and 2 years old each of whom loves my iPad. It’s loaded with educational apps, but they are no more valuable than picking up acorns in hopes of planting a forest, or building pillow forts and using blankets to dress up like royalty. There IS more to the world. I want my kids to be creative and have Zen time too. Very insightful. Great job Meredith Hale.

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  12. Very timely article for me as my 5-year-old is really starting to get quite good with the IPhone and home computer.

    While it never would have occurred to me to buy her one myself (we haven’t bought the other learning computers either) I think I would have kept the gift and monitored time. That said your decision was clearly well thought out and worked for your family and your daughter didn’t know the difference.

    I think computers etc…are great for learning, but agree there is a need to focus on other non-screen time as well. I know mine are already in front of the TV too much so I’m all for limiting screen time across the board – so not introducing another one is a good way to do it.

    Congrats on the success of your article!

  13. Out of your mind, huh? Sorry, that cracked me up. People are crazy! I loved the article. Very well written, all valid points, and you were sensitive to the issue. That said, its so funny that people still attacked you and thought you were crazy. You did what was right for your family and you wrote about it to start a conversation. The name callers are probably just defensive because that’s what they got for their 3 year old.

    Congratulations on the success! That is so exciting! I guess we have to take the bad with the good!

  14. I must be living in a cave of my own, because the thought of a four or five (or six or seven or eight or..) year-old having a tablet sounds pretty crazy to me! It is really surprising to see the backlash on this article! Congrats on the reach it’s getting, though :-)

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