When I was growing up my parents were incredibly strict about our TV viewing. They made sure that when we watched something, it was because we wanted to see the programme and not because we were just idly wasting time. Indeed, these days I maintain the same sort of idea with my daughter, who is three-and-a-half.
Television isn't a bad thing for children, but it’s entirely passive and if I'm honest, I like it more when she's using my tablet to play games.
One of the things I noticed quite quickly with my daughter when she started running apps from the BBC and reading eBooks like The Cat in the Hat on my Nexus 7 was that she quickly grasped how to use the touchscreen.
I think the importance of children using tablets can't be overstated. For one, it's a huge help with their fine motor controls. My daughter is, naturally, the cleverest child ever to grace the earth, but at the same time, physically, she's always seemed a bit less capable.
The importance of children using tablets can't be overstated. For one, it's a huge help with their fine motor controls"
This, as any parent knows, is part of growing up, and within a few years it all normalises. But in the time she's been playing with Peppa Pig on the tablet, she's got much better at controlling it. She understands what she's doing too, and the control she's able to exercise is quite impressive.
Of the many apps which are designed for children - and we’ve found the BBC's apps particularly good - some are just fun, but others have some good learning activities too.
For example one lets her spell simple words and speaks the phonetic sound of each letter. This is really amazing to watch because it introduces her to spelling. Spelling doesn't really come until much later on, but using the tablet is helping her understand how words are put together. That can only help her when she starts to learn later, at school.
It's one tool to help her grow up, and I honestly think it's doing her far more good than just watching the television"
When I was a child, we didn't have access to such things, and I was quite a lot older when my family took delivery of our first computer. We started with a BBC Micro, which was itself designed as an educational tool, but I wonder how a tablet would have influenced my education. I was never a good student and got pretty dreadful GCSE results. None of that has hampered me, and I'm pretty sure my interest in computers and technology has really helped in my career. I can only hope the same is true for my children.
Of course, I still view tablets as being something that should be used with careful supervision. We don't let her play for as long as she would like, limiting her tablet time just as we do with TV.
It's one tool to help her grow up, and I honestly think it's doing her far more good than just watching the television, which doesn't require much use of her brilliant, burgeoning young brain.
My honest feeling is that the children of today will take to technology far easier than my generation. Given that it's my generation that has really taken computers to heart, and achieved great things, I am incredibly excited about what my daughter and her peers will manage. So, let your kids play on your tablet - the potential is frankly amazing.
Ian Morris is a freelance technology journalist, occasional TV presenter and has a lot of child-friendly apps installed on his tablet and phone.
This article is the opinion of Ian Morris and not necessarily that of BT.