Most children under the age of five have an increased exposure to media devices like smartphones, tablets and television, revealed a new study. The study was published in the Journal Pediatrics.
A study was conducted by the researchers at the Einstein Medical center, Philadelphia. It analyzed 350 children between the age group of 6 months to 4 years. These children visited a pediatric clinic in an urban, low-income, minority community between October to November 2014.
‘Most parents offer mobile phones to toddlers to divert them away during household chores. Some use it as a way to keep them calm or as a sleep technique.’
Researchers found that households had 97% of television, 83% of tablets and 77 % of smartphones. Children started using mobile phones below the age of one year itself and about 96.6% children analyzed used mobile phones. Almost half of the children aged 4 owned a television and a smartphone.
These gadgets were mainly given by parents to divert their children during household chores, to keep them calm or during bedtime. 70% parents of gave mobile phones to children during household chores, 65% to keep them calm and 29% gave them during bedtime.
The study revealed that most children aged 2 years used one of the devices daily and spent many hours before the television. At the age of 4, children used the gadgets independently without any parental guidance and also were multi-tasking.
The study had some limitations where it was not a nationwide survey and was restricted only to Philadelphia. The study did not measure the impact of these technology on children but it just highlights about the pervasive nature of digital exposure among very young children.
Reference: Hilda K. Kabali, Matilde M. Irigoyen, et al, "Exposure and Use of Mobile Media Devices by Young Children" Journal pediatrics, DOI :10.1542/peds.2015-2151