More than one-third of babies are tapping on smartphones and tablets even before they learn to walk or talk, says a study in the US.
And by their first birthday, one in seven is using devices for at least an hour a day, according to research presented at the annual Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in San Diego.
The academy discourages the use of entertainment media such as televisions, computers, smartphones and tablets by children under age two.
The results of a new shows children younger than one year of age were exposed to media devices in surprisingly large numbers: 52% had watched TV shows, 36% had touched or scrolled a screen, 24% had called someone, 15% used apps and 12%played video games.
By two years of age, most children were using mobile devices.
Lead author Hilda Kabali, a third-year resident in the Pediatrics Department at Einstein Healthcare Network, said the results surprised her.
“We didn’t expect children were using the devices from the age of 6 months,” she said. “Some children were on the screen for as long as 30 minutes.”
Results also showed 73% of parents let their children play with mobile devices while doing household chores, 60% while running errands, 65% to calm a child and 29% to put a child to sleep.
Time spent on devices increased with age, with 26% of two-year-olds and 38% of four-year-olds using devices for at least an hour a day.
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