5 Unique Uses for Your Tablet

A tablet device provides you with a portable, lightweight platform through which you can read a book, watch a movie, listen to music and explore the Internet. You control your experiences through a touch screen that provides an intuitive interface to technology, appealing to users young and old. From individual entertainment to family learning, a tablet can put a world of enjoyment and convenience in your hands, especially if you take full advantage of its capabilities.

Shared Learning

Whether you take it into the kitchen to serve as a multimedia recipe book and cooking tutor or use it to spend time looking at maps and diving in to world geography, your tablet can help you turn tech time into learning and fun sessions you can share with your children. Some of the same features that make this technology a natural way to visualize immersive information also make it easy to use for activities that combine family life and learning about geography.

Offir Gutelzon, founder and CEO of Keepy, a website that enables parents to combine visuals, audio and movies into family remembrances, looks to tablets for "planning our vacations with amazing visual tools" as well as providing "entertainment for my kids while flying long distance." Tablets' screen sizes give them the viewing experience of a notebook computer without the size and weight, making them ideal adjuncts to the laptop or desktop system at home. By taking advantage of visual tools on a tablet's large screen, activities that formerly occupied a mundane place in family life become shared experiences, enhanced with a touch screen's unique interactive features.

Online Safety

You can expose your children to a world of online experiences on a tablet. Fortunately, you also can shield them from inappropriate content and other threats to their emotional and physical safety. Darryl Hicks, president and CEO of Amber Child Safety, a customizable monitoring service for mobile and computing devices, sees the safety issues as an opportunity to help children understand the risks.

"Granting kids access to mobile technologies is a great jumping off point for an ongoing discussion about the importance of safety on the web and out in the real world," he says, adding that incorporating safety tools should be a shared experience, not a secret. "Explaining why these tools are important and necessary is just as vital" as using them, he adds. "Plus, learning about technology together is a great family exercise and a way for different generations to bond over important and timely issues."

He also points to parents' need to protect children from cyberbullying, which his site's tools help prevent, as an opportunity for lessons in interpersonal relationships as well as online safety. The combination of protective tools and learning experiences provides unique ways to unite families as well as expand children's horizons.

Entertainment Control

Tablets can serve as universal remote controls for a wide range of entertainment technology, including TVs and home theater systems. Gutelzon points to the value these features add to the viewing and listening experience, including tablets' ability to stream live entertainment to TVs. Tablets also help you preview upcoming shows and movies before you program your home theater viewing experience and browse through program choices on an app that displays diverse entertainment sources. Integrated with your digital camera and camcorder, your tablet can preview the images and footage you capture and even live stream it directly from your camcorder.

Home Integration

Technology provides an increasing range of options to simplify household chores. Tablets can play a major role in this convenience revolution. You still need to load clothes into your high-efficiency smart washer, but you don't need to be in your laundry room to start the wash cycle. Through an app, you can run, pause and monitor your wash, even create and name customized wash-cycle presets, without being in the same ZIP code as your residence. Instead of waiting for a load of laundry to finish drying, you can monitor appliance progress on your tablet as well.

Inventing the Future

The functionality, convenience and lifestyle integration of today's tablets pave the way for a future in which they ease and enhance virtually every aspect of daily life. Rich Theriault, founder and CEO of MyTVChoice, a unique service that enables consumers to substitute other programming for ads on specific TV broadcasts, sees the combination of tablets and global connectedness as the beginning of a revolution in philanthropy.

"One-on-one meaningful relationships with people all over the world will change how philanthropy works," he says. "You will be able to see and engage with people in a uniquely powerful way. Needs will be met through millions and millions of one-on-one direct relationship[s]." His focus on tailoring the experience of entertainment programming draws from his commitment to a world in which individuals, not corporations, "drive the bus."

"Content and advertising in the home will be defined and controlled entirely by consumer choices. The tablet has delivered the ability for users to control their experience of live TV by skipping ads. This is the first step," he says, adding that "The smart mobile technology is at the heart of that profound change. You can choose to be part of that change. Pick up a tablet or a smartphone and join the future."

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