Childcare experts warn parents: Control your kid's tablet usage

by Doug Drinkwater

March 30 2012

A number of research studies have identified the growing use of tablets by very young children
A number of research studies have identified the growing use of tablets by very young children

A number of experts on child welfare were speaking at a panel entitled “Baby Brains and Video Games” in New York this week, where they stressed that parents need to monitor how often their children are using their tablets.

"It's a topic that really emerged in the last two years. You can't pull it from their hands," said Warren Buckleitner, editor of Children's Technology Review, when speaking at the conference.

Another speaker, Rosemarie Truglio – from the children’s TV producers Sesame Workshop – advised for a balance in usage and warned that ‘technology maybe fosters some things and dampens others’, while Lisa Guernsey, author of “Screen Time: How Electronic Media – From Baby Videos to Educational Software – Affects Your Young Child”, questioned the long-term effects of tablet usage. “Can children focus on a conversation, not look at a screen for 30 minutes?”.

Truglio went onto add that researchers have proven that children need that adult-child interaction – in addition to electronic interaction, while Buckleitner strongly urged parents to resist the temptation to use the iPad as some kind of digital babysitter, a trend recently noted by Nielsen, the market research firm.

To date, there have been a number of reports on how tablets are being used by young children. One study, carried out in late 2011 between 2,200 parents and children in Great Britain and the United States, found that 15% of children aged 3-8 use their parents’ iPad, and suggested that another 9% even own their own iPad.

Furthermore, another research study from Kid Industries found that 77% of parents believe tablets to have a positive impact on their children, with the same percentage believing these devices help develop creativity.

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