Smart tech not all bad for toddlers

Should toddlers be allowed to use technology? The jury may still be out but children, as young as two years old, are using them with expertise of a grown-up, reveals a recent study published in Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Parents of 82 toddlers, aged between around two years (20 months) and two-and-a-half years, were asked by Irish researchers how long their child use toutoddlersch-screen devices every day .They were also asked whether their children are able to unlock the screen, swipe through pages or images, and recognise and interact with specific features such as app icons for games.

At least 82% of the participants have a touch-screen device–a smartphone or a tablet–and 87% of them allow the child play with it for 15 minutes on an average every day , said an official of BMJ that publishes Archives of Disease in Child hood. Nearly two-thirds (62% have also downloaded apps for heir child to use.

Study Shows Children As Young As One Year Regularly Use Touch Screens

The study reports that nine of 10 (91%) parents also said the r child could swipe; half o them said their child was able to unlock the screen, and nearly two-thirds (64%) felt their child actively searched for touch-screen features. While the average age of toddlers with these three skills is 24 months, the average age for identifying and using specific touch-screen features is 25 months–almost three out of four (72%) parents said their child could do this.

Overall, one in three of the toddlers can perform all four skills by the time they are 29 months, and children as young as one year regularly use touch screens.

Use of technology by toddlers is common in Delhi, too, said Dr Pallavi Joshi, psychologist at Sri Balaji Action Institute. “It is good to help them understand the usage at early age.However, parents must be careful,“ she said.

In 1999, before the advent of touch-screen media, American Academy of Pediatrics had recommended that screen time be discouraged in children under the age of two years as it risks exposure to unsuitable material and displacement of other developmentally important interactions and play .

“These recommendations were made before the advent of touch-screen media which might have a different impact on the developing brains of toddlers,“ said an Irish researcher. However, the researchers also warn that there is no regulation of these apps–quality , educational value or safety .