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As you’ll soon discover, your iPad can be used as a mobile entertainment system on long drives or airplane rides to keep your child occupied. Because the tablet can hold dozens of TV shows and movies, along with hundreds of eBooks and apps, there’s no shortage of ways your child can use the iPad to have fun and learn—virtually anytime and anywhere.

How much time you allow your kids to use the iPad each day is a decision you’ll need to make as a parent. You may discover that your child is more excited to read eBooks on the iPad, as opposed to printed books, or that they can learn faster using educational apps in addition to what’s taught in school.

Apple’s iPad is an amazingly powerful and versatile device that can be used to education and entertain kids of almost any age. The trick is to use the tablet as a tool, and not as a surrogate parent or replacement for spending quality time with your kids.

If you opt to grant your kids access to your iPad (or even purchase one for use exclusively by them), it’s your responsibility to insure that your child uses the tablet properly, and that he or she doesn’t gain access to content that is not appropriate.

If you’ll be allowing your young child to use a tablet, keep in mind that accidents do happen. By sure to add a protective film on the iPad’s screen, invest in a durable case that can be kept on the tablet at all times, and acquire third-party insurance that covers accidental damage from drops and spills which AppleCare does not cover.

Some parents who rely on their iPad for their own work have found it makes more sense to purchase a second, used iPad for their children, as opposed to risking damage or accidental data deletion on their own tablet. Used or refurbished original iPads can be purchased online for a fraction of what a new iPad 2 costs.

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