Could the Kindle be the iPad killer?
I love my iPad. The trouble is, the kids love their iPads even more. How can we help cure the addiction?
Here’s a quick summary of why the iPad is a problem:
- It’s too easy to use,
- It has too many features,
- You can do pretty much anything with it,
- You don’t need anything else. Ever.
Now stop with the numbered list and give it back to me. NOW.
I realize that this isn’t the manufacturer’s problem, it’s more my issue. Well, it’s not even my issue, it’s my kids’ issue. Hmm, then again, they don’t have a problem with it, I’m the one who has a problem with it. I have a problem that they don’t have a problem with it. My problem? Addiction.
I only know from movies about addiction, but when the hard-core addicts go into rehab and go cold turkey, the scenes are brutal:
Curled up on the single bed with no covers, drenched in sweat, usually screaming and pretty much a wild animal.
I can’t say with certainty that this is the exact scenario some kids (and adults) would face if their gadgets were surgically removed from their hands, but it’s gotta be kinda close.
Enter the Kindle.
I’m an admittedly huge Kindle fan. What do they give the meth addicts? It’s something like meth but it’s not bad for you. Maybe that’s the Kindle for my kids. Once they get over the initial sweating phase when they realize that they don’t have an iPad in their hands, but only a black and white device that holds only books, maybe it’s far enough down the slippery slope that they’ll at least turn it on. Hey, at least it’s electronic, it has an on/off switch. Things flash and swipe and you can even interact with it. In fact, the Kindle can be downright exciting interactively.
Kindle interaction gone wild:
- Highlight text!
- Share that highlight with social media. Twitter! Facebook! Goodreads!
- Forget social media: just collect your highlights in your own personal collection to review later! Woo hoo!
- Look up definitions of words with a single press of a finger! Watch your vocabulary before your very eyes. All right there on the screen.
- Scroll back a page. Scroll forward a page. Advanced class: use the new Page Flip feature to flip just like a real book! (Wait, a what?)
- I have to stop, my fingers are flying over the keyboard with such speed I’m afraid I’m going to set the keys on fire and melt the plastic!
It’s practically as wild as spring break in Ft. Lauderdale!
“But dad, all we can do on here is read books.” — son in car
“Who’s your least favorite character so far?” — father driving car
Distraction, subtle psychological warfare, simple reminders that you’re interested in what they’re doing.
Is the cure to permanently remove their iPad infatuation? I’m not afraid to say it: no, it’s not. But remember, the iPad isn’t a bad thing in and of itself (like meth is). The iPad can be a powerful learning tool. The problem is that, as bullet point 3 way above points out: You can do pretty much anything with it. That’s the good news and the bad news.
The good news about the Kindle as the possible iPad killer? OK, it’s not the iPad killer, let’s make it the iPad colleague, maybe its side-kick, Robin to the Batman.
But let it have its own spotlight and remind your kids that the Kindle is a person, too. Well, a thing, an object, a device. But what’s inside is wonder, stories, adventure and imagination. You just have to turn it on. Just like an iPad.