Kids having a tantrum? Resist the idea of handing off your smartphone or iPad right away. Yes, we know it’s tempting, but that quick fix may have negative effects. According to a new article published in the journal Pediatrics, children who are regularly given electronic devices to distract or calm them may see developmental issues down the line. Mobile devices are everywhere and children are using them more frequently at young ages.
But don’t panic just yet if you’ve been doing this. “The impact these mobile devices are having on the development and behavior of children is still relatively unknown,” says Radesky.
It’s not all bad, however. If an iPad is used for educational purposes — like vocabulary acquisition or to read electronic books — they can help in the education of a child. But when it’s turned to mindless material, which the researchers call “mundane,” it may be harmful for kids. It has been well-studied that increased television time decreases a child’s development of language and social skills. Mobile media use similarly replaces the amount of time spent engaging in direct human-human interaction.