Earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) made changes to its recommendation of mobile screen time and toddlers by stating that smartphone and tablet use with parents reading and playing along to assist learning could be valuable for toddlers. Though the AAP maintains that face-to-face interactions are best for young children. Recently, USA Today featured a study by the “Pediatrics” journal about how young children interact with mobile devices with their parents’ permission. The 20-question survey of 289 parents of 350 children in an urban, low-income minority community yielded some interesting results.
“Nearly 97 percent of parents said their children used mobile devices of some sort. Most started before their first birthday.”— Greg Toppo, USA Today
Some of the most interesting findings include: One in four parents use their mobile device to help put their children to sleep. In addition, by the time a child reaches the age of four, three-fourths of the children owned a mobile device. Twenty percent of one-year-olds owned a tablet computer and 28 percent of two-year-old children can work a mobile device with no assistance.
Matilde Irigoyen, chair of the Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, was one of the lead researchers on the “Pediatrics” journal study. The study was born after many pediatricians were noticing the increasing amount of smartphone use in the waiting rooms. “In the clinic, in the practice, we’re seeing every mother, every father, every adult come in, and they pull out their cell phones,” Irigoyen explained.
Contrary to popular belief, the study reveals that the so-called digital divide for low-income families is diminishing as the survey showed that 77 percent of parents owned a smartphone. Currently, there are about a million apps in the iTunes store aimed at children eight years old and younger.
Learn more about the study by reading the USA Today article here.