iPad: Healthy Replacement for TV

Mike Elgan:

The right question is this: Is the iPad a healthy *replacement* for TV? And I believe the answer is a resounding yes.

Can you and your child agree to replace the TV with an iPad? Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the iPad really is a better alternative to the TV. But iPads aren’t free so we’ll need to do some simple math. The cheapest iPad is $500.

Let’s assume that the monthly TV bill is $50, and you can sell your TV for $200. By the seventh month you’re already saving money with an iPad. That’s good news. Now here’s three not-so-good news.

One, about every September Apple announces a new iPad. That doesn’t mean you have to get the new iPad, but if you’re the type to fork over $500 for an iPad for your kid then I’m thinking that it isn’t too much of a problem. You can offset the cost of a new iPad by selling the old one.

Two, not only can your child do all sorts of wonderful educational things on the iPad, she can watch TV, too. The TV you wanted to banish. And with that Safari app your kid can get into all sorts of trouble, unless you’re careful and provide a safe and controlled iPad environment.

Three, you’ll be hard pressed not to buy apps, which can add up. And there are thousands upon thousands of pretty good apps out there.

Personally I think an iPad is too expensive to give to a kid. An iPod touch would be a better option. And if you’ve realized that watching TV is not that great for your child, then unplug it, and save brain cells for your child and some money for yourself.

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