Babies And iPads Might Not Be Such A Great Combination After All

Many modern parents have a love-hate relationship with the iPad.

The device can be great to keep a child occupied and some interactive games may carry educational benefits — but what do we really know about how tablets affects babies’ developing brains?

The short answer is that we know very little. Digital devices have changed the parenting landscape so rapidly that the research has hardly been able to keep up, and comprehensive, science-based guidelines for children’s media consumption have yet to be formulated.

The American Academy of Pediatrics loosely recommends that screen time be avoided for children under age 2, a time when the brain is rapidly developing. “Young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens,” the academy says.

And yet, at least 38 percent of kids under 2 have used a mobile device.

Most recently, two leading developmental psychologists faced off on the subject, with U.K. early childhood expert Dr. Richard House arguing that iPads can be risky for babies’ development and should be avoided at all costs.

The use of these devices for young children is “unnecessary, inappropriate and harmful,” House wrote in an op-ed in the British magazine Nursery World.

“We have no idea — including, and even especially, neuroscientists! — what the impact is of these technologies on the developing brain, and the brain IS still in rapid development in early childhood,” House told The Huffington Post in an email. “There’s also the risk of schooling babies in techno-addiction, and premature cognitive, unbalanced development.”

Any educational value of interactive games played on the iPad can be better acquired through real-world interaction, he wrote. Some scientists have suggested that interacting heavily with technology could negatively affect a child’s socio-emotional development, and —> Read More