CrackBerry Asks: Do you let your kids play with your phone or tablet?

By Adam Zeis on 24 Oct 2012 02:47 pm EDT
Baby BlackBerry

My daughter is nearing five months now, and on an endless fit of screaming/crying over the weekend, I finally got her quiet with a video on my phone. On the same car trip, I didn't hear a peep from my son who found plenty of games and movies on my PlayBook to keep him occupied. 

Way back when we didn't have the luxury insane amounts of electronics as kids. We were stuck with a few decent TV shows, some color books and maybe a Viewmaster. Now, kids everywhere are spoiled rotten with the plethora of devices to keep them occupied. I do find that having a tablet around "for the kids" is a great thing. We actually have an extra PlayBook just for them so I don't have to worry about my own being dropped, chewed on or ending up in the toilet. 

Our question today is this: Do you let your kids use your phone or tablet? I don't really lend out my phone to anyone - including my kids (and that will hold especially true with BlackBerry 10). Do you let them use it whenever they want? Do they have their own? Is your phone hands-off? Pick the option in the poll above that best suits you, then leave a comment below letting us know why. 

Image Credit 

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

CrackBerry Asks: Do you let your kids play with your phone or tablet?


no way, kids are way too spoiled now... I go old school with them and give them colouring books other toys. My phone and playbook are mine and mine only. No need spoiling them with all these tech gadgets

@QuIcKsIlV3r Tablet and kids are our future and they are gonna have to learn to use this technology. If you don't wanna share yours then get them one for themselves. At $129 for a 16gb its only a minor investment that will shape your kids and stay with them for the rest of their lives. My 2 little girls love using mine so much :-)
I’d rather be a Black Sheep than an iSheep any day.

I let my 3 yr old daughter use my phone and tablet. She even tries to use my laptop but hasn't gotten the hang of the mousepad, although she can navigate a desktop computer pretty well.

But she does love playing with dolls and people more than gadgets which is great.

My 4yo can kind-of use a mousepad on a laptop, but he's becoming a whiz on my Playbook. My 3yo cannot use a mousepad yet, and is still learning how to navigate the Playbook. For our laptops, we bought the kid-friendly Chester Creek single button USB mouse:

Sounds like a couple great kids. Does he prefer the Playbook over the PC?

My little 4 year old girl Lila thinks tablets are better than candy and that's saying alot. She always asks and washes her hands before using it...little sticky fingers she is lol. She won't even touch the family PC since I got my Playbook last year. My other little girl Lue Lue is 3 and is just developing an interest and is learing fast. Love seeing tech through their eyes. My wife is a computer whiz and can see our girls are gonna get this.
I’d rather be a Black Sheep than an iSheep any day.

my baby sister is as spoiled as ever and i dont help shes only 6 but been using my toys since well before my playbook she adores rips it out of my hands minimizes apps and plays games she wants to lol... with my BlackBerry she has a little bit more of a rough time since i password lock it and shes not as used to the interface comapring to playbook.

However shes the only one i let it out of my hands for otherwise its no kids touching ever lol

My 4yr old son is addicted to Temple Run on my wife's android and he absolutely loves playing ChromaSphere on the PlayBook. I probably have 9-10 games and puzzles on the PlayBook that is teaching him very fine motor skills and puzzles keep his mind sharp!

It really is amazing how at 4yrs old he knows all the swipe gestures on the PlayBook and sometimes even shows me how to pass a level in a game!

He also uses my BB9860 for YouTube videos to watch Cars2 clips. I have a shortcut icon and he knows exactly how to pull it up anytime!

No choice. My kids (5 and 9) are gadget nuts. They have their own laptops and my son has his own playbook, but they still play with my playbook and phone.

My niece & nephew touch the screen and nothing happens, then they just button mash and play call their's always a laugh to see them do that as they've been Apple-ized with their parents' iphones and ipads

I don't even like my kids to hand me phone or PB. Their fingers are always sticky & gumming up the screens!!!!

I have my own PB, but far away i buy a iPad2 (i confess my sin), and my 3 years old daughter use it, also she have my old 8900

Live Long and Prosper!

1st off hells to the no. I kind of cheated I clicked option "they have they're own toys". I don't have kids but my girlfriend nieces and nephews are always playing with peoples phone, but NOT MINE. I use my phone for work and without it I'd be screwed.

CrackBerry Is My Choice Of Drug

Yes I do. My 7-year old plays with either my wife's or mine, (which ever one is available at the time) for homework and play. My 15 year old as well, I may just buy them one each for the upcoming holidays (of course I will implement some kind of parental control on their devices). The BB-PlayBook has such great apps to keep them entertained as well as educated.


My 7 year old son uses my PB all the time, and prior to the PB, he used my 9800. My son has created his own folder with his own games, which also include spelling games, math games and learning games. He loves playing them. Of course he plays a sideloaded version of Avengers and Car racing games too, but I love the fact that he tries all the learning games as well. It's great for the car, because he can watch movies too when taking long trips. I don't use it as a babysitter, I let him use it as a treat. We still do alot of non-techy stuff too (he plays hockey, baseball and baseketball). It's all about balance!

Adam - this is a great question and leads to an area I hope RIM adds some innovation with BB10. If I pass my phone or Playbook to my kid (or anyone else really) it would be great to be able to put it into some sort of guest mode (like you can with Windows PC) with a quick flip of the switch. That way I don't have to worry about my kid accidentally emailing from my work account or messaging etc. This guest mode leaves them free reign to the apps so they can play but keeps all of my private stuff safe and secure. And it would automatically put the browser into a fresh state with parental control mode. I know using bridge sorts some of this out on the PB but I like native email.

Have you heard any talk of RIM working on something like this? Maybe you guys could send it in on a wish list.

I absolutely want some kind of Kid/Guest mode added to the Playbook. My gf's Android tablet has an app for that exact purpose. We can put our kids' games into its environment, and then it makes sure they cannot leave that environment for any reason without us first entering a secret code. A number of times, my 3yo has been on my Playbook and swiped away from his games, launched web browsers (especially from in-game ads) and other apps, and then done things he shouldn't have done while trying to get away from them.

Its worse when you have a much younger step brother, because when i say no to using my PB his mother call me jealous :)
It's not fair i bought my PB for my own use, he just got an iphone...ohh come on play with that and leave me alone :)

When I'm not using it (which is rare!), I let my kids use my PlayBook, sure. My 10yo is playing Bard's Tale as I type this. :) He also plays GOF2, P vs Z, Xploding Boxes, etc. They will be getting their own for Christmas. :D Then it will be MINE ALL MINE again.

Not mine, they have their own, the love their Playbooks, which they all had to earn and pay for at least some large protion of (and you could not get them into anything comparable for the recent pricing) Now they are learning that these things aren't indestructable.

Basically, everyone with children and personal BBs here is going to say yes, those with children and corporate issued BBs are going to say no, some people without children will use the old 'neice and nephew or brother and sister' example as analagous (which it isn't at all) and go either way, and most people without children are going to say no.

Really, what kind of douche are you if you have children (esp aged two and up) and aren't going to let them play games, watch videos etc? They grow up with your devices as part of their lives - my daughter was pretending she was sending emails with my phone almost before she could walk. There's no question about the answers here.

NB - if you're going to even have your BBs in the proximity of your children from an early age then make sure you have insurance. As a baby, my son managed to throw up directly and solely onto to my 8900 (I know, harsh critic), and the other day, now a little older, he managed somehow to relieve himself straight up in the air and directly onto my 9900 whilst holding the phone and watching Thomas the Tank Engine whilst I was changing him. If he didn't seem to playing with my BB so much (Parental Control app - holla) I'd think he was trying to tell me something!

I disagree, I have a personal BB and Playbook, and I don't let my son touch it and he's 5. Call me old fashioned, but they have their own NON tech toys to play with.

We all grew up NOT having tech devices glued to our hands (at least anyone over the age of 30) and we all grew up just fine without the major use of tech stuff.

And I'm no douche either... my son plays on the computer to learn things like math and reading and I always read a real book with him so he goes to sleep.

My kids (gf and I want our own kids later on) won't be glued to media all day long either. They don't need hours and hours of youtube or facebook. It just rots their minds and becomes more of a baby sitter

Yes, my language was a bit strong there - would edit the post to tone it down but only seem to be able to edit my later post. No offense intended.

ok fair enough :) Everyone has their own parenting style though. I'm a gadget freak, but seeing kids younger than 15 with phones/tablets personally makes me mad.

You sir have it backwards. My BB and PB are in OtterBox cases BECAUSE I have kids.

Do I want my kids playing with my work tools? no. Is it going to happen? Hell, yes. Kids are a reflection of their parents. If daddy is an email reading, blog posting, text, web surfing, gadget whore; then the odds are the will also be one. It is called a Crackberry addiction for a reason. So do the smart thing, put a real password on the device. Change said password on a regular basis and buy the kid a current model BB and PB so they will leave yours alone.

My 13year old son is on his second curve and we both will be upping to BB10. We share the PlayBook and I will be getting a new PlayBook soon and he will be able to have the older one.

My 2yo son loves the PlayBook. He's pretty much figured out how to use all the bezel gestures and navigate to his favourite games/videos. Due to the sturdy design and low cost, I'm not afraid of him breaking it and actually between you and me, he's shown me a few things on accident of course.

When BB10 comes out though, that's completely hands off! :D

NO, they should be attended to by the parents. Remember that thing about the first three (or more) years of life?

Forget the TV, attend and play with your kid(s).

It gets easier to see why so many children I see don't interact very well with people - people don't have touchscreens. When, and how, are they going to learn to deal with actual people, who may be a little trickier to manipulate?

I have a huge problem with what all these devices are teaching children - first, that there is only one way to do things (try typing ,com instead of .com and see how far you get), and second (and far worse) that YOU don't have any choice about what that one way will be.

And it may be me, but I don't think giving a very young child an expensive, and very breakable, device is such a good idea. I feel rather sorry for kids these days, their lives have few, if any, rites of passage into increased maturity and eventual adulthood, and the sense of accomplishment that should go with them. So much is simply handed over in the interest of keeping them quiet/occupied/whatever.

Vitam impendere vero

Yeah, but you know what, life isn't actually like that - just because you use a computer doesn't mean you're automatically socially inpet. I also think you're ignoring the creative possibilities devices bring, and how they can complement other forms of interaction and learning.

There's also the very persuasive school of thought that if you fetishise something it because an object of mystique and desire, whereas if you introduce it in a sensible, mature and rational way it normalises it. It reminds me of children I knew growing up whose well meaning parents harshly limited their time watching tv and playing video games - it just meant that they binged far more (and became more reclusive as a result) when the choice was theirs.

And sometimes life IS actually like that. I think you'll find I didn't say anyone using a computer will be socially inept. Talk to someone who has been teaching young children for a number of years and ask how they've changed. Technology is introduced at younger and younger ages, when key brain development is occurring -- it's now being recommended, for example, that children under age 2 not watch television.

Of course how it's done, and why it's done will make a difference. But that difference is not necessarily going to be good.

Vitam impendere vero

We grew up without these gadgets, and we turned out ok. Why give them the gadgets and risk messing them up? I mean they will use it eventually, so it causes no harm to hold it off for a while

* BlackBerry by choice *
I had a diaper changing poll a while back and I'm reminded of it when I saw this poll. That said, my 1 yr old doesn't touch it. I have an old Nextel phone for those distracting times when all else fails. The PlayBook is used however for kids games by my 6 yr old niece when she visits.
On the other hand, when he is presented with an iPhone and a BB Bold 9930, he goes for the BB because he likes the buttons.

My nephew is 3 yrs old, and when he comes to visit I give him my BlackBerry PlayBook, load up NickJr in the browser and let him have at it, he has been using it on and off since he was two. And now can swipe and close applications that he doesn't want to play anymore with ease. He loves to play Plants vs Zombies because they walk funny and they say "Brains!" and Scream when he lets them in the house! I love it peace and quiet for me. Im thinking of getting one for him for Christmas because he has learned alot from the games such as: Alphabet Goop, and Kids Connect and Whizzy Kids! Another BlackBerry kid in the family :) funny because his mom and dad have iPhones and he never uses them!!

Yes. My daughter has been playing with BB's since she was a year old. One night I was trying to put her to sleep and she grabbed a hold of my BB and she started typing on an email. She was mesmerized but I think it put her into a trance because she fell asleep shortly after while still holding the phone.

My wife got a Kindle Fire this past spring and my daughter loves it (She calls it, "Momm's Book") I think it took her a day to learn how to navigate with it. At age 2.5, she learned it quicker then Mommy! Shortly after that, I got a 9930 and she masters the touch screen. When I am on my laptop, she tries to touch and swipe on the screen! Kids are cute.

I let my almost 3 year old son to use my PlayBook scheduled every weekend only. With my presence of course, I even make his own folder name to him with all his fav educational games. And you know what, he already master the art of swipping and gestures :-). He's confuse using ipad or android tablet, I even notice he gives up using them and end up using the PB. He is now 100% ready for the upcoming BB10 ayayay! #BB10Believer

My daughter's 9th birthday was Sunday. She got a Playbook. Now the turd wants me to Bridge my 9810 to HER Playbook so she can access the web while in the car. Either way, as long as she uses it to learn and it keeps her out of trouble, Ilike it.

my three boys each have their own playbooks. i got tired of sharing mine and trying to split it 4 ways. now mine is mine and theirs are theirs! paws off!

At the current prices, it was a no brainer to get each one of the children a PlayBook. Place some reasonable but firm rules on the time spent and life is good. We were planning on getting them e-readers but the 16 gig PBs were almost the same price. Now I don't have hundreds (literally) of Scrapbook pictures on my PB. Grandma can now video call each of them. When she calls the look on their faces alone was worth the price. And since we home school, as an educational tool they are fantastic.
And I echo all the posts about the young children taking to the PlayBook so fast. Kids are amazing.

I don't have any kids but every time I visit my cousin her 1 year old is always wanting ng to play with the phone so she gives her an old phone... She throws that phone across the room and cries for my cousins blackberry.. She was born a blackberry fan :)

I don't have any kids but every time I visit my cousin her 1 year old is always wanting ng to play with the phone so she gives her an old phone... She throws that phone across the room and cries for my cousins blackberry.. She was born a blackberry fan :)

My Playbook is indespensible when we have to do a 7hr drive to Scotland. We have a number of movies ripped to my 32GB playbook and I bought the headrest kit from Crackberry. So my 4 yo watches whatever movie she wants, plays her own games and all with her juniour headphones on so we can still chat in the front of the car. The battery lasts the whole trip with ease and my sanity is maintained without hearing "are we nearly there yet" constantly :)

I had a coworker who kept complaining that her BlackBerry didn't work right. I found out she let her baby play with it, drop it, teeth on it. She replaced three in 6 months. Stupid is as stupid does! My phone is for communication for me. It is not a toy.

My wife has an iPad. She lost it once at a restaurant because the grandkids were playing with it. They set it down next to them. She forgot about it by the time supper was done so we left the place only she remembered a couple of hours later. Funny, but no one turned it in. Expensive toy.

Our two kids were using our two PlayBooks a lot. When they dropped in price (again) the wife and I bought new ones for ourselves and gave the old ones to the kids.
No one uses my phone but me.

Just a guy.

Absolutely not. Working in a 911 Centre we have come to learn very quickly that phones are not toys. Approx 50% of calls received in our centre are accidental dials of cellphones. These calls all have to be dealt with, taking up resources.

Cellphones also contain small parts and metals that are extremely dangerous to small children. Even the kids that are older are contributing to a large volume of accidental pocket dials.

Most people don't realize that unregistered cellphones are still able to dial 911. Many people give old unregistered phones to kids as toy phones and this again leads to huge problems. Even taking the battery out still leads to possible injury to small children from small parts breaking off.

Let you kids play with toys designed for them. They will get their own BB4Live soon enough.


I actually picked up a used playbook off of ebay for $40 for my kids to use for games and movies. It was the only way for me to have time with my own playbook! ;)

Just had a baby girl of my own last month.

This is the best Blackberry image I've seen in a long time.

My son used to play with my wife's iphone, but I realized its addictive and we took it away once he started spending all his time playing on it and watching kiddie movies on netflix. Sure, we had all hell break loose for 2 days - but the thing with kids - they adapt extremely fast; so he moved on to playing with his toys.

I have a one year old and a two and a half year old and some times I have to let the use the playbook, but only with the otterbox on and with supervision. As far as my phone goes, they never get to touch it

My 3yr old and 5yr old girls have their on PlayBook tablets. They don't touch my phones tho. They do get to play with my old broken BlackBerry phones.

I don't have any sons/daughters of my own and if I choose to start a family, I'd rather spend time with them and not let any get brainwashed by television or the media until they're ready to do so at their own will. The television will only be used at night before bed and everybody will have bicycles. Forget vehicles unless it's a LONG road trip. Bikes are upgradable to include a gas or electric motor, since it's easy to get a $20 used bike and fix it up.

They'll get smartphones when I damn well think they're ready to, as soon as they get into the higher grade/SP-ED areas where communication and task scheduling is a must. They're ALL going to have blackberrys, forget android, windows phone or iphone.

Alas, I haven't let any of the family, the younger generation, use my blackberry or playbook yet. Lol

Random comment, yes.