The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warns against allowing babies to use computers, televisions, smartphones and tablets before 2 years of age—but we all know that these devices—especially smartphones and tablets—are a staple for many young kids. Now, new research, presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting last weekend, sheds light on just how young some kids really are when they begin using these devices.
More than 350 parents of children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years, who were at a pediatric clinic that serves a low-income community, filled out a 20-question survey about media use by children that was developed by researchers. (It was adapted from Common Sense Media's Zero to Eight national survey.)
It turns out that more than one-third of the kids were using entertainment media before they could even walk or talk. And researchers found that one in seven toddlers uses a device for at least one hour per day by age 1.
Of kids less than a year old, 52 percent watched TV shows; 36 percent touched or controlled a screen; 24 percent had called someone
Across all ages, "results also showed 73 percent of parents let their children play with mobile devices while doing household chores, 60 percent while running errands, 65 percent to calm a child and 29 percent to put a child to sleep," reports the AAP.
Related: Managing Your Child's Screen Time
A positive correlation was also found between a child's age and the amount of time spent on mobile devices. While it may be getting harder and harder for parents to discourage their children from using technology, it's important that they're educated about negatives as well as the positives.
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She's a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn
Digital Devices and Children
Image: Boy with tablet via Shutterstock