Sunday, November 8, 2015

More Children Are Using Mobile Tech

Tech Children
As the world moves forward and adopts new innovations every year, one thing remains clear. Children are taking over the gadget market and nobody is capable of stopping them.

A new study shows that even if it is bad for them, 97 percent of kids under age 4 are using mobile devices and 75 percent have a tablet, smartphone, or iPod of their own.

The small-scale study—based on the responses of 350 low-income parents in Philadelphia—identified "almost universal exposure, early adoption, and use of mobile media devices among young children," the lead author tells the CBC.

About 70 percent of parents said their children used devices unsupervised, including while parents did chores. About 65 percent said a device was used to appease a child in public, while 25 percent of parents said they'd left a child with a device at bedtime, though screens generally keep sleep at bay, per the New York Times.

Some 44 percent of kids under 1 and 77 percent of 2-year-olds used a mobile device daily; a third of 3- and 4-year-olds used more than one device at a time.

A researcher at Philadelphia's Einstein Medical Center says, "We see every parent pulling out the iPhone and giving it to their baby," so the study "was sort of validation (in) real life," per USA Today.

A psychology professor says the results are "huge," but "we simply don't know what the consequences are for (kids') early social development." An expert on media and children's health adds he "would not be surprised if these levels of device ownership and use were similar in many families" outside of Philadelphia, but he questions whether parents should actually be worried.

Scientists "ring the alarm bell without any content on why we should be alarmed," he says. They should conduct "research to understand how we are changed by the media we use." The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using a device with your child, setting time limits, and establishing tech-free zones.

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