Can Babies Become Addicted to iPads and Smartphones?

Illustration for article titled Can Babies Become Addicted to iPads and Smartphones?

Babies and iPads are a match made in heaven when their parents are, say, stuck on an airplane and don’t have the luxury of letting their kid cry until they wear themselves out. But experts aren’t sure if a mini-screen is such a great way to keep babies under the age of two occupied.

As the technology’s popularity with the diaper-wearing set outpaces what is known about the neurological and cognitive impact on their brains, child development experts say less — or no — exposure may be best in the first 24 months.


A study by Common Sense Media, a San Francisco-based company, found that 38 percent of babies under two use tablets or smartphones, reports the Daily News. This is an increase from ten percent in 2011 and while pediatricians aren’t sure that this uptick is bad, they aren’t sure it’s good either.

Recently, Fischer-Price debuted a new “Newborn-to-Toddler Apptivity Seat,” a $79 bouncy chair that has a built-in pocket to hold an iPad over a baby’s face, and horrified parents wrote the toy brand angry letters. So Fischer-Price responded on their website with something like, "Hey guys, we’re all going through this weird parenting thing together, you know you use those iPads to distract your kids. Don’t be mad at us for making it easier."


On the other hand, parents might be setting their kids up for a technology addiction just by the amount of time they spend on their own devices. And once they babies are hooked, it’s hard to break them away.

Madueno said she only lets baby Camila use the iPad or iPhone a few times a week. But Madueno knows how Camila’s eyes light up when she sees her mom’s devices and is anticipating her daughter will become mesmerized when she sees her new upgraded cell phone.

Image via d13/Shutterstock.

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I remember when my kid was born (about 10 years ago) doctors had just recommended pretty much no TV until the age of 2. There had been a study where they had done brain scans of babies who saw more TV and the brains were developing a bit differently. Not necessarily differently in a bad way, but differently. One of the theories was that movement on the TV screen was much faster than most movement in real life. Pretty much everything a kid sees at that age cause connections in the brain. (I'm not a scientist, and my memory of what I read 10 years ago is a bit fuzzy, please don't come after me, scientists, although if I'm remembering wrong, I'd love reeducation.) Anyhoo, I wonder if it's sort of the same with cell phones? We didn't let her watch TV for the first 2 years, and it was extremely limited thereafter. Her screentime is similarly limited now. Maybe it was unnecessary, but she does read more than any of her friends, so I guess I didn't damage her too much with that one.