Young children and high technology. What happens when toddlers take to iPads?

What happens when toddlers take to iPads? (S_Ishimaru/Flickr)

What happens when toddlers take to iPads? (S_Ishimaru/Flickr)

There’s a new babysitter, teacher, toy and pacifier in toddler town. And it’s the iPad. The smartphone. The closest high-tech touch-screen gizmo that a parent can hand to a child. Toddlers are the new touchscreen aficionados.

Hand them an iPad, and they’re on it like glue. A smartphone, and they get “Angry Birds” in an instant. One year old. Two.

And given a chance they’re all over the technology. Some parents see it as a miracle learning tool and governess. Mary Poppins in a box. Others as a pacifier. What’s it doing to their brains?

This hour, On Point: What happens when toddlers take to iPads?

-Tom Ashbrook


Michael Rich, a “mediatrician” and director of the Center on Media and Child Health.

James Steyer, CEO and Founder Common Sense Media.

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal “Kids for years have sat too close to the television for too long or played hours of Madden on family room game players. But pediatric neuroscientists and researchers who have studied the effects of screen-time on children suggest the iPad is a different beast.”

Slate “No more plopping preschoolers in front of videos to “zone out.” With the emergence of touchscreen tablets and e-readers, screen time has become interactive—and thus less guilt-inducing for parents who need a short break. Every purposeful swipe of our children’s fingers seems to offer a reassuring signal that their minds are at work, contemplating what to do next.”


Check out this video of a young child interfacing with paper technology.

Photo: “Apptivity Case”

This iPhone case comes from the Fisher Price company.

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