Editor's view - Keep taking the tablets?

Many of us will have been delighted to have received a tablet for Christmas.

How useful, how entertaining, how multi-purpose they are! Tablet ownership has more than doubled in the past few years.

Yet when it comes to young children using iPads, and their easy acquisition of the skills needed, there is a great deal of unease. A very thought-provoking feature in the Guardian last week prompted a huge number of comments for and against iPad use - all filed on a computer or mobile device, of course.

Nursery and childminders are also divided on whether to provide them for pre-school children, as our story 'Concerns raised over impact of tablets on posture' on 2 December showed.

Some nursery groups such as Snapdragons and Kids Allowed use iPads in imaginative ways and for limited times. Others such as London Early Years Foundation have decided to steer clear due to worries about physical development such as pincer grip.

Any new 'technology' brings about fears and concerns, and needs negotiation in terms of its optimal use and effect. As one respondent to the Guardian article pointed out, his Grandma used to be warned that she would ruin her eyes if she read books all the time!

There are huge benefits from tablets if the right balance is struck, and it is unrealistic to think that we can exclude young children from encountering them and wanting to use them. Nursery practitioners need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to ensure that they are used to enhance best practice and development, not hinder them.

And many of you certainly are - it is interesting to note that a third of the visits to the Nursery World website are now made on a tablet or mobile phone.

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