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Babies are learning how to use phones before they can walk and talk

One in seven toddlers are actually using devices for at least an hour a day.

Image: Shutterstock/Dmitry Lobanov

MORE THAN ONE-third of babies start using smartphones and tablets before they learn how to walk or talk, new research has confirmed.

At the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in San Diego last weekend, researchers also said that one in seven toddlers under the age of one use devices for at least one hour per day.

According to the data collected at pediatric clinics in the US, children were exposed to media devices in “surprisingly large numbers”.

More than half of those children younger than one had watched a TV show, 36% had touched or scrolled a screen and almost one quarter had made a phone call.

The numbers fell when talking about specific smartphone or tablet activities such as using apps or video games.

By two years of age, most children were using mobile devices.

“We didn’t expect children were using the devices from the age of 6 months,” said Lead author Hilda Kabali, MD, a third-year resident in the Pediatrics Department at Einstein Healthcare Network.

“Some children were on the screen for as long as 30 minutes.”

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Results also showed 73% of parents let their children play with mobile devices while doing household chores, 60% while running errands, 65% to calm a child and 29% to put a child to sleep.

Time spent on devices increased with age, with 26% of 2-year-olds and 38% of 4-year-olds using devices for at least an hour a day.

The data was collected with results from 370 parents in a low-income, minority community.

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