Tablet use prevalent in toddlers

A new survey reveals children as young as 6 months are using electronic devices. Photo: Getty

Swiping a smartphone or tablet is as easy for babies as shaking a rattle, new research has found.

A new study presented at the US Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting revealed that children as young as 6 months have used mobile devices. By the age of 2, most children have picked up a smartphone or tablet.

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To find the results authors surveyed 370 parents between the ages of 6 months to four years, to determine their exposure to electronic media. The survey revealed that 52 per cent of children under the age of 1 had watched TV, 36 per cent had touched or scrolled a screen, 15 per cent used apps and 12 per cent played video games. The older a child was, the more time they spent using devices: 26 per cent of 2 year olds and 38 per cent of 4 year olds used devices for at least an hour.

It’s no surprise that children are getting more tech-savvy, however the researchers noted that experts frown upon electronic media exposure in children under the age of 2. According to research, it can lead to school trouble, attention problems and obesity.

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While this study was small, study authors state it’s important to examine the effects of electronic media for children’s development.

“A better understanding of the use of mobile media in young children and how it varies by population groups is critical to help develop educational strategies for both parents and health providers,” they wrote.