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Technology and its effect on early childhood

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Princeton Junction Campus

59 Cranbury Road
Princeton Junction,
NJ 08550
(609) 275-8666

Executives dream of winning young customers over to their products. Companies like Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co. appear to be succeeding when the customers are barely out of their cribs.
More than half of babies in low-income households are tapping on smartphones or tablets by the age of two, with some spending more than an hour at a time using them. And more than one-third of low-income children have used them by the time they turn 1. That’s according to a study presented last month (

aapnews.20150425-3) at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in San Diego by Hilda Kabili, a third-year resident doctor at the Einstein Health Network in Philadelphia. The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages the use of computers, smartphones and tablets by children under age 2, but there’s little long-term research on the effects of using them a t such a young age.
Also see: Older adults are benefiting from social media, tech (
These trends are supported by a 2013 report by Common Sense Media (, an organization examining the impact of technology and media on children, which found that 38% of children as young as two use smartphones, up from 10% in 2011, and said that the percentage of children using mobile media is increasing and more than doubled between 2011 and 2013. Around 72% of children aged 8 and under have used a mobile device for some type of media activity such as playing games, watching videos, or using apps, up from 38% in 2011. Among those who use a mobile device in a typical day, the average went from 43 minutes in 2011 to 1 hour, 7 minutes in 2013.
Childhood is a critical time for developing commun ication skills as well as fostering creativity, says Larry Rosen, professor of psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills, and author of “iDisorder: Our Obsession with Technology and Overcoming its Hold on Us (” “I see no reason why some limited screen time with developmentally appropriate content would harm children,” he says. “Having said that, I am concerned that screen time is being used in place of face-to-face time with parents and others as well as just time for free play. I watch parents in public areas hand their young children screens to keep them occupied.”
Read: Rehab clinics: Smartphone dependency fuels other addictions (
“We are starting to see an increase in communication issues with young people,” Rosen adds, pa rticularly when it comes to their ability to concentrate When a group of 51 preteens spent five days at a camp without mobile devices, their ability to read emotion on a person’s face improved significantly, according to a study ( led by Yalda Uhls, a director of creative community partnerships at Common Sense Media, and published last year in the journal “Computers in Human Behavior.” The results of this study “should introduce a much-needed societal conversation about the costs and benefits of the enormous amount of time children spend with screens, both inside and outside the classroom,” the study found.
But not everyone believes that a surge in the use of mobile media among young children should be a cause for alarm. “Kids are going to lose some skills and they are going to gain others,” says Robert Weiss, senior vice president of clinical development for Elements, a national behavioral health com pany in Long Beach, Calif. Children who become dependent on gaming or other addictive aspects of technology are usually emotionally vulnerable to start with, he adds. Studies have shown ( technology helps increase visual reasoning, widen social circles of young people, make classrooms more efficient and also allows parents to more easily keep track of their children.
“My concerns are about how older people respond,” Weiss says. “People are looking for reasons to be fearful. ” Our lives, he says, have become easier with technology. “We don’t have to use maps, thumb through folders, and have so much more time to enjoy what gets delivered.” Weiss recently had lunch with his 20-year-old nephew who picked up his phone to respond to a text. “He went right back to what we were talking about and he really hadn’t left me at all,” he says. “Would I be a narcissistic baby boomer to say I wa nt someone to be with me 100%? Just because it goes against what feels right to me, doesn’t mean it’s wrong for someone else.”
Read: Why teens are rebelling against Facebook (

Courtesy- MarketWatch

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