Parents seem to fall firmly into with the No! or the Yes! camp when it comes to their kids having a Kindle or other kind of eReader. Their attitude seems to depend heavily on their own experience of ebooks.
Those people who have never picked up a Kindle in an act of stubborn loyality to ‘real’ books are unlikely to be happy about their offspring reading from a screen. Similarly those who have tried a Kindle but not got on with them will probably not see any need for their children to have one either.
Some parents who do own and use Kindles argue that they are not toys, and there is no need for children to have access to such expensive electronic equipment. They worry that their child may damage the eReader by not being careful enough with it, or downloading and reading something not suitable for children. These are valid concerns, but the Kindle does give you the option to set a password and so restrict access to the Web Browser, the Kindle Store, and Archived Items.
We are a pro Kindle and kids house: our older girls have both had Kindles for over a year. We have no parental controls set but they know they must not download anything without asking first and this allows us to check that what they are wanting to read is suitable. We don’t consider Kindle time to be screen time, so we don’t limit their access at all.
Kindles have saved us a lot of money and space. Lots of books are cheaper on the Kindle, and even those that aren’t still work out cheaper for us as you only have to pay once. This means you can download the book onto up to six devices at once so both girls can read the same book at the same time without arguing about whose turn it is first. We also travel a lot and it’s much easier to take a Kindle to keep the kids amused, than 3-4 paperbacks per child.
Recently I got given a Kindle paper white, which I absolutely love. Off topic, but if you’ve been umming and ahhing about getting one of these, then my recommendation is do it! But this meant I had a ‘spare’ Kindle which I have just recently handed it over to our youngest DD , who is seven. She is a very good reader, in all the top groups at school, but she hadn’t yet taken to reading for fun.
My eldest two are veritable bookworms; they will read anything, anywhere. But DD3 was still a bit meh about the whole thing and considered reading to be ‘hard work’. Having her own Kindle has changed all that, she now loves reading on her Kindle and is whipping through the Judy Moody books, something she wouldn’t touch in real life. She likes it that she can increase the font size so that there are less words on each page; I think seeing lots of words daunted her a little.
So Kindles are all good in our house and I would recommend them as suitable for any child who is reading competently. I know the Kindle fire makes a good job of picture books as well but I do prefer the idea of little children starting out with proper books for some reason.
Do your children have a Kindle of their own? Has it worked well for your family? Or do you prefer your children to read ‘real books’? If so, why?