Is the iPad spreading germs faster than other common items in your house?

My 9-year-old had a 101.7-degree fever over the weekend and of course wanted to just lie in bed and play on the iPad.

However, the 5-year-old grabbed it to play next without anyone wiping it off. When I walked in the room and noticed I told her to go wash her hands with soap while I disinfected the iPad with a barely damp Clorox wipe.

So the question is: Do you think touch-screen electronics are spreading germs – possibly the flu – faster through your house than say touching the remote control or common door handles?

22 comments Add your comment


January 22nd, 2013
12:56 pm

If your sick kids are sticking their fingers in their mouths or noses, or sneezing all over the electronics, and playing on the iPad, then yes they are spreading germs.

In my house, if you are truly sick, you play with NOTHING. You may watch tv on the couch, but if you are too sick to go to school/work, then you are too sick to play games on the ipad, computer, etc.

The iPad would be out of the sick child’s hands until they were better.

Getting sick is your body’s way of telling you to slow down. That means, no playing.


January 22nd, 2013
1:17 pm

No doubt they would pass the germs that way but it’s no different than any other way. The sick child will go to the restroom and touch door knobs etc. so pretty much the entire house is covered in germs. When we were kids, if one of us got sick, momma would put us all in the same room together so if we were going to catch it we all did so at the same time. A lot of the older generation did this so one child wasn’t sick one week and another child the next week causing them to miss work. The only thing to do is for everyone to wash wash wash their hands and spray Lysol on all the surfaces.


January 22nd, 2013
2:01 pm

No, I don’t think touch screens are spreading germs faster than other household items.

"Paranoia will destroy ya"...

January 22nd, 2013
2:05 pm

…somebody sang that back in the 80’s and it so applies to TWG…

Grace Slick

January 22nd, 2013
2:16 pm

Next time you’re in the produce section of the grocery store, take a moment and watch people and their crazy, neurotic habits in chosing fruits and vegetables. Neurotic squeezing, smelling, touching, tapping until their little brain decides on which apple is best for them. Most people are filthy animals and god knows what they were doing with their hand prior to walking in the market. Their germs mutate with other germs and then enter your body turning your insides into liquid goo.


January 22nd, 2013
2:23 pm

@Grace – that’s why you wash your produce when you get home.

I refuse to touch hand rails or escolater rails in public. And of course, I wipe down the cart handles at Walmart, Target & Publix.

And I do not believe in giving little kids an iPad. My neighbors bought one for the 4 year old granddaughter for christmas, and she has already dropped it and shattered the front glass. Another friend gave one to her 10 year old, and as he was getting out of the car, he dropped it in the driveway. Again, shattering the glass.

My kids got iPads when THEY could afford to buy them. They appreciate them more, and take care of them, since they bought them by themselves. If they want something that expensive, they have to buy it themselves.

My parents did that with my brother and I. They never gave us or bought us a car, or any high ticket item. They said if we worked for it and bought it ourselves, we would appreciate it, and take better care of it.

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January 22nd, 2013
2:54 pm

Well, I agree with mayhem. When I was sick, I was allowed to read if I felt like it. I was allowed to go to the bathroom and to the table for meals. Anything else was given the deadly distinction of “flouncing around.” Flouncing around was BAD. It was about the worst thing you could do if you were sick, causing your temperature to go up and lengthening the time of illness.

No walking to the mailbox or to get the paper (both about 25 feet from the front door. No TV, no radio. Quiet, liquids, and no flouncing!


January 22nd, 2013
3:34 pm

When someone the least bit germ-phobic enters a hotel room, the first things they hose down with Lysol are the TV remote and the phone. (Then they get the bathroom faucets and flush handle on the toilet.)

Things that people touch that they don’t wash their hands before using are definitely capable of spreading germs.


January 22nd, 2013
3:54 pm

mike you forgot the light switch.

Voice of Reason

January 22nd, 2013
4:00 pm

Nope, we don’t have any tablets in the house and both of the kids, and myself, have our own 3DS’s. No technology sharing here. Plus I routinely clean the remotes for the TV and our various game systems.


January 22nd, 2013
4:21 pm

Why is a 5 year old playing on an iPad?


January 22nd, 2013
4:33 pm

I wish Mayhem felt the same way about opinions as she does Ipads. We would all be better off.


January 22nd, 2013
6:40 pm

@ Scooby, she said 9 yr old. and I would totally give a sick child an iPad. What the hell else are they going to do? They’re not dying. Do you expect a sick child to just stay in bed and stare at the walls. You can only sleep so much. Once the Advil kicks in you feel like doing something. maybe not riding a bike or going to school but, yeah, I’d say a game of Angry Birds is perfect for a sick day. That and watching movies.
Maybe you should be careful that they don’t pass it immediately to a sibling but I don’t see the problem with letting them play with it.
I wouldn’t think twice about it and I probably wouldn’t notice if they passed it on to a sibling. And btw.. I’ve never wiped off a cart or freaked out about my kids washing their hands every 5 minutes and they both have very strong immune systems. I don’t think they have ever had a true “sick” day since they were two or three years old. I have NEVER been up all night with a sick child and they are 12 and 9 yrs old. They don’t get the flu shot. They pick up colds here and there but always get over them in a day or so.


January 22nd, 2013
6:43 pm

I use an Accu-Text Smart Touch for that…


January 22nd, 2013
8:06 pm

I have an iPad mini and I love it! It was easy to understand and I love the interface. Here’s the one I have on Amazon It really blows the other tablets away.

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January 22nd, 2013
9:51 pm

I see now that Theresa mentioned the 5 yr old taking the iPad. Still, why can’t a five year old play with an iPad?

Atlanta Mom

January 22nd, 2013
10:02 pm

Lordy, germs in the house are germs in the house and everybody is exposed.

Atlanta Mom

January 22nd, 2013
10:05 pm

I love 5 year olds having an ipad. Restaurants are so much more pleasant now that children even younger have electronic devices to keep them quiet.
My poor children were expected to converse.


January 23rd, 2013
2:02 pm

I agree with Mayhem. I don’t understand why so many people are buying young kids Ipads. Ipads are certainly not the only option available for entertainment while sick? How about reading aloud to your child a book you would both enjoy? Frankly, if a child is sick with a fever, the eye strain of using a device to play games and the body tension that can go with video games does not sound like it would be good for you while sick.

If you think your kids need iPads to be tech-savvy later in their career, an older child who was never exposed prior can learn how to operate the thing in 10 minutes. I am not sure why many parents religiously follow their pediatricians advice, except for when it comes to electronics and screen time. The National Academy of Pediatrics and most child development experts have warned that increased screen time is “reducing” child development in other critical ways. I think many parents enjoy it when the kids are glued to the electronic devices and are quiet. It gives those parents more time to do their chores, blog or be on Facebook, etc.

Like Atlanta Mom, our son is expected to converse with the family at the dinner table, at home and in restaurants. Dinner table conversations have long been an important way to maintain a good relationship with your child and to keep the communication lines open. I can’t imagine what kinds of problems will be overlooked down the road as more and more teens “skip” communicating with parents during mealtime.

[...] Is the iPad spreading germs faster than other common items in your house? When I walked in the room and noticed I told her to go wash her hands with soap while I disinfected the iPad with a barely damp Clorox wipe. So the question is: Do you think touch-screen electronics are spreading germs – possibly the flu – faster … Read more on Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]