First tap, then crawl

Already six month old babies use smartphones or tablets today

Toddler with tablet - no longer a rarity today © Pojoslaw / thinkstock
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Digital Childhood: More than a third of all babies are wiping and typing on cell phones and tablets today before learning to speak or walk. At the age of two, most babies already use digital media - sometimes more than an hour a day, according to a US study. For experts, this arouses concern, because initial studies speak rather for negative effects of early childhood irrigation.

Whether mobile phone, PC or tablet - digital media have long been part of everyday life for most of us. However, this does not remain without consequences, as studies show. Thus, the constant distraction of our brain changes, in adolescents, the use of tablet and Co before going to sleep can lead to sleep deficits and even if the youngest too many Telebubbies and Co look on the tablet or TV, then this is not conducive to their social behavior.

Nevertheless, this does not detract from the popularity of digital media in the nursery, as a study confirms. But on the contrary. Even the youngest come into contact with the latest entertainment technologies today, as Hilda Kabali of the Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia and her colleagues now report at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies.

For their study, the researchers interviewed the parents of 900 children between the ages of six months and four years. You should specify which and how many devices are in your household, which devices the children are already using and what they are using - whether for games, video-watching or other activities.

Swipe and tap before speaking

The researchers were surprised by the result: Already in the first year of their life many toddlers regularly used media devices, many of them learned to type on tablets and smartphones before they could speak. 52 percent of sub-year-olds had already watched TV shows, 36 had already used a touch screen. 15 percent of the children already used apps and 12 percent played video games. display

"We did not expect children to start using such devices as early as half a year, " says Kabali. "Some of the children were already busy there for up to 30 minutes a day." At the age of two, Tablet and Co were already part of everyday life for crawling children. One in seven infants used mobile devices for more than an hour a day, the researchers report.

Recommendation: No devices under two years old

The consequences of such early use of digital devices on the behavior and brain development of toddlers is largely unknown. So far, there are only studies on television consumption - and clearly the negative effects are overwhelming. It is debatable whether special games are equally harmful for toddlers, or whether they can stimulate learning and curiosity.

Many pediatricians and professional organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, therefore recommend that children under the age of two have neither television nor tablets or other mobile devices. Because at this age, learning through direct interaction with parents and other people is especially important. (Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting, 2015; abstract of presentation)

(American Academy of Pediatrics, 27.04.2015 - NPO)