Are tablets and smartphones really as bad for kids as we think they are?

It is nothing new for parents to be concerned about the amount of time the children spend in front of glowing rectangles. With the introduction of smart phones and tablet computers to the market, parents are more aware than ever that their children are exposed to more screen time.

There are many concerns that mental development can be stunted in children because they spend too much time at the computer and many people believe that a particularly susceptible time is for children who are aged between three and five years old.

The latest figures from various pieces of market research has shown that the manufacturers of touchscreen devices are doing incredibly well with children. It is estimated that around half of children who are under eight years old have some sort of access to a touchscreen device of some kind. As you would expect, research also showed that the primary use for these devices was entertainment.

It is not just entertainment that these devices can be used for however, and parents should realise the opportunity that these devices actually present for learning. Devices such as the iPad have an incredible amount of functionality because of the ability to install applications onto them. There are applications for improving maths skills and learning vocabulary which can be beneficial for a child’s development, rather than detrimental.

One thing it is not surprising we are concerned about is the fact that we just don’t know what the effect of these devices on children is going to be. Studies simply don’t have enough data right now to show how touchscreen devices are going to affect a child’s development. Whether we like it or not, our children are a generation that are acting as guinea pigs to see whether these devices affect our development.

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