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Published on : Feb 04, 2015

They may be called smart devices but the overuse of smartphones and various other mobile technologies in case of toddlers could possibly stunt their development. Researchers at the School of Medicine, Boston University, have published their findings in the Pediatrics journal. 

The paper says that the smartphone industry terms mobile devices and other handheld technological devices as “shut up toys”. This is due to the fact that young children are more often than not occupied with the use of mobile media while the parent or guardian is busy in some daily routines or chores such as car rides, errands, or even while eating out. This has become quite a frequent tool for behavioral regulation. 

The authors of the paper state that by bombarding the toddler with too much digital interactive entertainment, the child’s problem solving skills as well as self control ability will possibly be stunted.

Jenny Radesky, lead author of the paper, says that if digital entertainment devices end up becoming the most dominant method of calming or even distracting young children, how will they learn how to regulate themselves or develop their own internal mechanisms? The paper, therefore, recommends that parents encourage and engage in more personal interactions between the child and parents or the toddlers’ peers.

The paper showed that over six out of 10 kids in the United States of America who were below 12 years of age, owned a personal mobile device. This was revealed by a report 2014 Ipsos Kids and Family Center of Excellence. A Common Sense Media report of 2013 also showed that kids below eight years of age in the U.S. spent two hours each day on an average in front of a screen.