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iPad Kid, also known as iPad Children, iPad Child or iPad Baby, is an internet slang term that refers to kids who are always on their or their parents' iPad to the point where it alters their personality and lifestyle. iPad kids are often portrayed sitting with their backs arched and their faces as close to the iPad as possible, rather than bringing the iPad to their face with their hands, as well as playing games or watching videos with loud volumes and no headphones. They are also said to have a specific, raspy cough and are associated with games like Roblox and Minecraft. The term was popularized on TikTok in January 2021 and became increasingly prevalent over the course of the following years as a way to make fun of Gen Alpha.
The term "iPad kid" has been used to refer to kids who are always on an iPad throughout the 2010s, with numerous examples on Twitter between 2013 and 2018. The term was popularized and further defined on TikTok on January 26th, 2021, when TikToker @dunkaren posted a video captioned, "POV: the one cousin on Christmas" where he walks around the room watching Cocomelon on an iPad followed by a raspy cough, garnering over 19.2 million views in just under two years (shown below, left). The video's original sound inspired over 3,000 uses in the same span of time, the majority also making skits about iPad kids. For example, on February 1st, TikToker @the_mannii posted a video to the sound, garnering over 30 million views in just under two years (shown below, right).
A child who is so intensely focused on the iPad their parents gave them (usually in a bulky case, and littered with fingerprints) that they lose all awareness of their surroundings, often randomly contorting their bodies and throwing themselves in awkward ways over furniture, bumping into things, and randomly vocalizing.
On March 5th, 2021, YouTuber EmilyNotFound posted a clip from a Quackity stream where he responds to comments saying he coughs like an iPad kid, calling it the "worse insult anyone can give to you," garnering over 523,000 views in under two years (shown below).
On March 22nd and 27th, Redditors karambit_master00981 and TheRedstoneMan_YT (shown below) posted iPad kid starter pack memes to /r/starterpacks, garnering over 1,700 and 30,000 upvotes, respectively, in just under two years.
On February 11th, 2022, Twitter user @venicebitch222 posted, "i wasn't an ipad kid i was a pink nintendo ds girl🙄🙄," garnering over 127,000 likes and 29,000 retweets in nine months (shown below). On February 13th, it was then reposted to Instagram by ughbitc.h, garnering over 203,000 likes in the same span of time.
On April 25th, 2022, TikToker @beancurdthecalico posted a video of a kitten playing on an iPad with a comment caption reading, "BEAN IPAD KID" garnering over 32 million views and receiving viral spread through reposts to sites like Instagram. On July 6th, TikToker @phoebeandkye posted a video where she films her boyfriend, calling him an iPad kid, garnering over 11 million views in four months (shown below, left). On October 18th, TikToker @ryancomedyofficial posted a skit about the iPad kid getting his iPad taken away, garnering over 239,000 views in a month (shown below, right).
On November 10th, Twitter user @feederofcats posted a video of their cat playing on a phone, captioned, "I regret to inform everyone that your favorite 3 footed kitten is in fact….. an ipad kid," garnering over 18,000 likes and 93,000 views in four days (shown below).
i regret to inform everyone that your favorite 3 footed kitten is in fact….. an ipad kid pic.twitter.com/AXOWIUkmvr
— haley (@feederofcats) November 10, 2022