Is it a bad thing for a two-year-old to have an iPad in return for some peace and quiet. Emily Jade asks the questions of a new age mum.

Emily Jade

Emily Jade

High heels and high chairs

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I fear I have made the biggest new age parenting mistake yet. I make parenting mistakes all the time—bribery in the supermarket pleading for good behavior, a momentary loss of concentration at the park playground (read:checking my instagram) resulting in a tumble down the slide, and sending her to day care last week in her puppy dog pyjamas (there’s only so many tantrums you can handle before 9am) — but giving her an iPad for Christmas I think may be the absolute worst yet.

Adoringly she calls it her Hair Pad, with an emphasis on the HHHHair and let’s be honest we gave it to her for a bit of peace and quiet. On it we downloaded hand-picked kids’ movies for her to watch in the car or when I’m trying to prepare dinner and boy does it work. Two-year-old tantrums all but disappear when the magical HHHHair Pad appears from its hiding place. You see she has developed a crack like addiction to it and has even woken up in the middle of the night demanding her HHHHHHair PAAAAAd. It’s the first word she mutters in the morning and the last at night. She’s two and I need to put her on a digital detox.

This is foreign to me; growing up my siblings and I only ever owned a broken TV. My folks were anti-technology and the sound button on the TV was ripped out by one of my many brothers during a tantrum and forever more the sound was set at low because Mum refused to fix it. Now that I’m a parent I know why but at the time I thought it was capital punishment.

Ours was a household with silent TV. We guessed what was happening in the news via the pictures. I thought the AID’s campaign with the grim reaper was an advertisement for fright night at the local bowling alley. So we also had no video, computers or unnecessary evils like a Nintendo or Atari. I spent hours at my friend’s house getting my fix watching Home and Away, Bon Jovi on MTV and perfecting Frogger all the while telling mum we practiced braiding our hair.

So that depravation of mod-cons in my youth perhaps explains why I thought it would be the best thing in the world to give my daughter a tiny television WITH SOUND of her very own that she can carry anywhere, and watch anytime. The irony in all of this is that I don’t even own an iPad myself and barely know how to use it.

So it didn’t help when I consulted Dr Google for tips on toddler iPad use and discovered that three years ago a doctor in the UK launched the worlds first technology addiction programme and parents with children as young as four are paying up to £16,000 for a 28-day “digital detox” programme. That was a serious wake up call and as a result drastic action has been taken.

The iPad has been re-gifted (to me) and she is back to good old fashioned entertainment - reading books. The first one I picked up? A Beatrix Potter classic, where Benjamin Bunny married his cousin Flopsy…..his COUSIN……I can’t win.