Electronic Gadgets Are The New Babysitters!

Electronic gadgets are the new babysitters!

According to a new study, more than half of all kids have used a smartphone, tablet or computer by age 4 and in a typical day, zero to one-year-olds spend nearly an hour with some kind of video screen, be it a phone or a DVD.

Parents say the number one reason they’re letting kids use gadgets these days is to “keep them occupied.” Our gadgets have become the modern version of plunking kids down in front of the TV because the average smartphone can keep kids entertained for hours - playing games or streaming episodes of “Dora The Explorer.” That way, Mom and Dad can enjoy some peace and quiet without worrying about their fussy kids causing trouble.

The gadget “babysitting” trend is so popular that Fisher Price recently came out with a new iPhone case, that promises to protect your phone from “dribbles, drool, and unwanted call-making,” while your baby plays with the touch screen.

But is that a good thing? Cheryl Rode is a psychologist who says it’s fine to let kids use electronic gadgets occasionally but phones and tablets fall under the umbrella of “screen time,” and kids under 2 shouldn’t have any.

That’s because screen time, whether it’s TV, an iPad, or a smartphone - decreases time that a toddler would be interacting with a parent, since people speak to each other less when there’s a screen around. Pediatricians say that contributes to a lag in language development because hearing adults speak, and being spoken to, plays a key role in the development of language skills.

What do you think? Have you ever used a smartphone or tablet to “babysit” your kids? Let me know at Facebook.com/JohnTesh.

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