A new study found that toddlers in ninety-one percent of families who owned touch-screen devices, like tablets or smartphones, were able to swipe on the gadgets, unlock them, look for features, and more.
In the study – published December 21 in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood – sixty-four percent of the parents also stated that their children actively looked for features on the touch-screen devices, and fifty percent of the parents reported that their children knew how to unlock the screens.
The findings showed that the average age of the children who were able to use the thouch-screen devices and perform these tasks was twenty-four months. Even children as young as twelve months could use the devices, but by the age of two their skills showed that they actually interacted purposefully with the tablets or smartphones, the researchers stated.
For the new study, the researchers surveyed parents of eighty-two children ages one to three, on how often their children used touch-screen devices, and how they used them.
Of the parents who owned touch-screen devices, eighty-seven percent said that their children would use them an average of fifteen minutes per day, the researchers found. Moreover, seventy-two of them said that by twenty-five months (on average), the children were able to use touch-screen apps, as well as identify them. By the age of twenty-nine months, the children of about thirty-three percent of the parents could unlock the devices, swipe the screen, look for touch-screen related features and identify them.
Currently, the effects of using tablets or smartphones at an early age are still unknown, according to the researchers. The American Academy of Pediatrics stated in 2011 that children ages younger than two should not use social media. However, the guidelines were based on passive forms of media like television. The American Academy of Pediatrics also released the guidelines before touch-screen devices became as widespread and as popular as they are nowadays.
Researchers wrote in their study that touch screens could actually benefit children younger than two. Touch screen applications are interactive, unlike previous forms of media, and may even offer children a level of engagement.
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