Your Baby Is Already Better At Technology Than You, And That’s Okay
Most kids and toddlers are little screen time experts, but it turns out their infant counterparts aren’t doing so bad either. According to Yahoo Parenting, a survey was presented at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies that showed most babies are hip to the world of tablets and television, and they’re not just occasional users.
The survey was conducted by Hilda Kabali, a third-year resident in the pediatrics department at Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia, and found that 36% of babies younger than one had touched or scrolled a screen, 24% had called someone, and 52% had watched television. Parents also reported that 15% of kids under a year old had used apps, which I find hilarious because I could hand my 10-month-old a phone with an app open right now and he would basically just coo and drool on it. I’m pretty sure most babies would do the same. Does that qualify as ‘using’ apps now?
Babies aren’t using these devices on their own, of course. Parents are handing them off to occupy them during car trips or so they can get chores done. Some parents even reported letting their kids play with phones and tablets to soothe themselves to sleep. Kabali said she found the survey results shocking, and other experts agreed, reiterating the “dangers of screen time” we all know so well.
“We know that even when a TV is on in the background, even if no one is watching it, parents and children interact with each other less,”Rahil Briggs, Psy.D., director of Pediatric Behavioral Health Services at Montefiore Medical Group in New York, tells Yahoo Parenting.
“Interaction, even if it’s just coos and smiles, encourages proper brain development and helps foster a secure attachment to parents,” she adds.
The thing I’d like to know is, of those parents surveyed, how many of them are using screen time as a replacement for interaction? I’m willing to bet there aren’t many. According to the survey, babies were getting about 30 minutes of screen time a day and one in seven toddlers use screens for at least an hour. I find it hard to get worked up about something that amounts to such a minimal part of the day.
Are there parents out there who abuse screens? Sure. I have a Facebook friend who parks her baby in the car seat in front of the television so she can watch highly inappropriate television shows all day. Those situations will always exist, whether the American Academy of Pediatrics sets stringent guidelines or not. I like to believe, though, that the majority of us are doing the best we can to set limits we’re comfortable with and not relying on an iPad to raise our kids. Technology is a part of life, for better or worse. It’s time for everyone to stop clutching their pearls because a baby scrolled a phone screen.