(Wired) -- Being a tech dad is a curse. We are always chasing the latest and greatest that tech minds are producing despite our economic status, how many kids we have or whether or not the CFO at home (the wife) will approve.
We want it. We need to have it. We don't want to wait. We don't care what it costs.
Some gadgets are are more valuable than others -- to you personally and professionally. That's why I think the iPad is a must-have for all parents. I firmly believe that it was secretly made with kids in mind. Not only is the iPad a great tool for business needs, it's also the secret weapon of parenting.
Other than the obvious -- games, education and creativity -- there's a slew of reasons why I think the iPad was created for kids -- at least tech-tech loving adults with kids.
Reason #1: Your kids are going to get on your nerves
Every parent has been there. You're in a restaurant, out shopping or even chillin' at home when your kid has a breakdown of sorts. They are uncontrollable. They won't zip it up no matter what the heck you do or say. Just when you're about to flip your lid, bust out the iPad. It's like using duct tape to cover their mouths -- but legal of course.
The secret weapon app in this case, of course, has to be "Angry Birds." The very addictive game is simple for even your toddlers to play. My four year old is obsessed with "Angry Birds" and even pressured my wife and me to get the plush toys. She's that obsessed.
Reason #2: They are bound to ask, "Are we there yet?"
Epic car drives are the death of any parent's sanity. If you're lucky enough, your kids will pass out from the humming of the tires against the asphalt. However, when (and I really mean when), your kid flies off the handle because they can't take another three hours before you get to Grandma's house, bust out the iPad and get back to the tranquility of wheels on asphalt.
In terms of car-ride iPad savers, I'd have to suggest the instant classic "Paper Toss," "Little Things" or "LunchBox."
Reason #3: They always want you to read them a book at the most inopportune time
Kids love books. That's all good. What's not cool is when it's your time to put the little rascals to bed and they want you to read a book as you're watching the game. Of course, when you say, "go pick out a book," they pick our the "War and Peace" of bedtime stories. In this situation, there are a slew of kids books for the iPad that are animated, do voiceovers, etc. You can slap on the game, put it on mute and let bedtime stories get autopiloted. Night-night, kiddos.
The app that my kids seem to prefer is the "Jack and the Beanstalk" interactive book. With some voiceover and animation, it is an entertaining book for the kids and goes by pretty quickly so you can tuck the little rascals in and head back to the couch for the game.
Reason #4: Mother Nature likes to ruin family plans
We've all been there. You and the family have outdoor plans for the weekend and mother nature decides to dump three inches of rain over your parade. You're stuck in the house and for the first 24 hours, the kids are good to go. However, promises of rollercoaster rides, cotton candy and games has turned into a long couch jockey session that turns the kids into anxious, rambunctious and pesky kids. A weekend stuck in the house comes with a breaking point and it's your job as a dad to know when that is.
When you sense it coming, break out the iPad and fire up "Smurf's Village," "Fruit Ninja" or the arcade classic, "Frogger."
Reason #5: Ever try potty training a kid?
Other than the no-sleep thing, potty training is the worst thing a parent goes through. It's such a frustrating experience. You know how easy it is to hit the head. You do it a zillion times a day. So, why doesn't your kid get it? Why does he insist on hiding behind the couch in the playroom and dropping something in his pants that should be quarantined by the Center for Disease Control?
Well, in comes the iPad to the rescue. Trust me on this one. Find yourself a slew of games that he likes, plop him down on the bowl and let 'er rip. It might take a few tries, but eventually, little Johnny will be tugging at your leg pants and saying, "Yo, pops, I need to drop one. Where's your iPad? I have to catch up on the scores from last night's game."
In my case, my youngest would play "Pac-man," "Cut the Rope" and "Stickman Golf." Not sure if I was prouder of her actually doing the deed or selecting to play "Pac-man." My inner geek dad rejoiced.
So regardless of all the PR speak that Steve Jobs fed the world when he launched the iPad and introduced the iPad 2, don't let him fool you. The iPad isn't a revolutionary communications tool. It's your parental ace in the hole.
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