As most already know, adults are pretty connected to their mobile devices. About 50% of mobile phone owners use their devices as their primary Internet source, 67% find themselves checking their phones for notifications even when it didn’t ring or vibrate, 44% sleep with their phones beside their beds out of fear of missing messages, and 29% describe their devices as “something they can’t imagine living without.”
Shockingly, babies are pretty connected, as well.
According to a new study presented at the Pediatric Academy Societies annual meeting in San Diego at the end of April, one in seven children spend over an hour a day on mobile devices by the time they turn one-year-old. Even children as young as six-months-old are using mobile devices.
Researchers also found that by the time they’re two-years-old, 26% of children use mobile devices for at least an hour, and by the time they’re four-years-old, 38% use them for at least an hour.
“We didn’t expect children were using the devices from the age of six months,” said Dr. Hilda Kabali, the study’s lead author in a press release. “Some children were on the screen for as long as 30 minutes.”
Dr. Kabali also said that the most surprising finding was that young children are even capable of using more than one mobile device simultaneously.
The problem is that although scientists don’t know the particulars, they do know that mobile devices do pose potential dangers for adults. Therefore, if children are using mobile devices from a younger age, it can become a major detriment to their development.
What makes the situation even more troubling is that these children don’t need to use the devices. Most parents give them to their kids to distract them. According to the survey, 73% let their children play with mobile devices while they did chores, 65% to calm them down, 60% while running errands, and 29% to put them to sleep.
Yet, only 30% of parents said that their pediatrician discussed the potential dangers of early media use with them.