Study: Toddlers going mobile at much younger age than previously thought

A new study out today shows more and more toddlers are tech savvy, despite repeated warnings from doctors to limit screen time for children. No longer are kids just borrowing technology from their parents. The study published in the journal Pediatrics finds three quarters of children have their own mobile device by age four.

Still in diapers but masters of mobile devices, it's a reality for more and more American children. Today we have a new snapshot of what it means to grow up tech savvy. A new pediatrics study found 97 percent of children have access to a smartphone or tablet. Researchers also found about 44 percent of babies under one use a mobile device daily. That number jumps up to 77 percent for two year olds.

Crista Sumanik with Common Sense Media says technology isn't the problem, parents need to focus on behavior.

"Parents really need to be mindful of setting the example themselves, no screen time at the table, no screen time in the car. Make sure that face to face conversation is still a priority," said Crista Sumanik, Common Sense Media Senior Director.

The study found parents often let their children play with smartphones and tablets to keep them calm while out in public, but the American Academy of Pediatrics explicitly tells parents not to use technology as an emotional pacifier. The study's authors are particularly concerned by how many kids have their own device because little is known about how digital media can affect children's development. Sumanik says it's important choose educational apps and games for your children to explore.

"You have to parent in the digital age, but the benefits can be great with all that preparation," said Sumanik.
More than 80,000 apps are labeled educational, but experts say products that are interactive should require more than pushing and swiping.

For more information please go to Common Sense Media.
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