Einstein Medical Center study: Babies using tables and smart phones

26 Apr

Moi has written about the effect of television on the brains of young children. In Television cannot substitute for quality childcare and parental interaction. Your toddler not only needs food for their body and appropriate physical activity, but you need to nourish their mind and spirit as well. There are several good articles which explain why you do not want your toddler parked in front of a television several hours each day. Robin Elise Weiss, LCCE has a very good explanation of how television can be used as a resource by distinguishing between television watching and targeting viewing of specific programs designed to enhance learning. In Should Babies and Toddlers Watch Television? http://pregnancy.about.com/od/yourbaby/a/babiesandtv.htm Elizabeth Pantley commented about the effects of young children and television. MSNBC was reporting about toddlers and television in 2004. In the MSNBC report, Watching TV May Hurt Toddlers’ Attention Spans the harmful effects of television viewing on children were discussed. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/4664749#.UtNlDbB3tdg Robin Yapp of the Daily Mail reported in the article, Children who watch too much TV may have ‘damaged brain structures. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2537240/Children-watch-TV-damaged-brain-structures.html#ixzz2qFKiwot6

Alexandra Sifferlin of Time reported in 6-Month-Old Babies Are Now Using Tablets and Smartphones:

Over a third of children under the age of 1 have used a device like a smartphone or tablet, according to a new study.

The study, which was presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting, showed that by age 2, most kids have used mobile devices. To reach these findings the study authors surveyed 370 parents of kids between the ages of 6 months to 4 years about their exposure to media and electronics.

Overall, technology in the home was common. The survey results show 97% of the families’ homes had TVs, 83% had tablets, 77% had smartphones and 59% had Internet access. According to the parents’ responses, 52% of kids under the age of one year had watched TV, 36% had touched or scrolled a screen, 24% had called someone, 15% used apps and 12% played video games. The amount of time the children spent using devices rose as they got older, with 26% of 2 year olds and 38% of 4 year olds using devices for at least an hour….
The survey results also suggest that parents let their children use media or mobile tech as distraction. For instance the study showed 73% of surveyed parents let their kids play with mobile devices while they were doing chores around the house. Sixty percent said they let children use them while running errands, 65% to calm their child and 29% to put their kid to sleep. Just 30% of the parents in the survey said they spoke to their pediatrician about media use…. http://time.com/3834978/babies-use-devices/


Babies as young as 6 months using mobile media
Date: April 25, 2015

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics


More than one-third of babies are tapping on smartphones and tablets even before they learn to walk or talk, and by one year of age, one in seven toddlers is using devices for at least an hour a day, according to a new study.

First Exposure and Use of Mobile Media in Young Children

Hilda Kabali, Rosemary Nunez-Davis, Sweta Mohanty, Jennifer Budacki, Kristin Leister, Maria Katrina Tan, Matilde Irigoyen, Robert Bonner. Pediatrics, Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA.

BACKGROUND: Smartphones and tablets are the fastest growing technology in human history and mobile devices are becoming the preferred means for children to access media and its content. Little is known about children’s age of initial exposure to mobile media and frequency of use.

OBJECTIVE: To determine age of initial exposure and use of mobile media among young children.

DESIGN/METHODS: We conducted a prospective cross-sectional survey of a convenience sample of parents of children aged 6 months – 4 years in October and November 2014 at a hospital-based pediatric clinic that serves an urban, low income, minority community. We used a 20-item questionnaire adapted from the “Zero to Eight” Common Sense Media national survey on media use in children. Parents were asked about types of media devices in their household, children’s age at initial exposure to mobile media, frequency of use, types of activities, and if their pediatrician had discussed media use in children.

RESULTS: 370 parents completed the survey;17 refused. Children were evenly distributed across all age groups; 51% were girls; 74% African American, 14% Hispanics; 13% of parents had less than high school education. Most households had TV sets (97%), tablets (83%), smartphones (77%), and internet access (59%).
How old was your child whe he/she did these activities on a mobile media device?
<1 Year 1 Year 2 Years 3 Years 4 Years
Touched or Scrolled Screen 36% 33% 20% 9% 2%
Called Someone 24% 35% 25% 11% 4%
Watched TV Shows 52% 25% 18% 4% 1%
Played Video Games 12% 26% 36% 18% 7%
Used Apps 15% 26% 36% 17% 7%
Other Activities 32% 25% 26% 15% 3%

Most parents let children play with mobile media while running errands (60%), doing chores around the house (73%), to calm the child (65%), and to put the child to sleep (29%).By 1 year of age, 14% of children were spending at least one hour per day using mobile media, 26% by age 2, and 38% by age 4. Only 30% of parents reported discussing media use with their child’s pediatrician.

CONCLUSIONS: Children are exposed to mobile media devices very early in life, and most children are using them by age two years. A better understanding of the use of mobile media in young children and how it varies by population groups is critical to help develop educational strategies for both parents and health providers.

First Author is a House Officer

Session: Platform: Media & Technology (8:00 AM – 10:00 AM)
Date/Time: Saturday, April 25, 2015 – 8:30 am
Room: 28C – San Diego Convention Center
Course Code: 1165

Science Daily reported in the article, Mobile and interactive media use by young children: The good, the bad and the unknown:

The authors question whether heavy device use during young childhood could interfere with development of empathy, social and problem solving skills that are typically obtained by exploring, unstructured play and interacting with peers. “These devices also may replace the hands-on activities important for the development of sensorimotor and visual-motor skills, which are important for the learning and application of math and science,” added Radesky…. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150130102616.htm

Here is the press release from Boston University Medical Center http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-01/bumc-mai013015.php
See, How to Have a Happier, Healthier, Smarter Baby http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/childrens-health/articles/2010/10/19/how-to-have-a-happier-healthier-smarter-baby
Parents must interact with their children and read to them. Television or technology is not a parental substitute. Mobile and Interactive devices are also not babysitters and can’t be used to simply distract children.


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