How young is too young for toddlers to start using tablets?

Today’s children are growing up more technologically savvy than today’s adults could ever dream. But how soon is too soon to place a tablet in your child’s hands? Age 2? How about 4? Or is there no such thing as “too soon”?

Since their peers are deftly maneuvering the touch screens at an early age and playing with apps as naturally as we used to play with wooden blocks, is it important to give our kids as much of a head start with technology as we can? Instead of a dangling mobile hanging above their crib, should we just lower an iPad down?

According to a story by CTV News, a study published by Common Sense Media found 40 percent of American children ages 2-4 use smart-phones, tablets or a similar device. For kids 5-8, it’s 52 percent.

But, according to the Canadian Pediatric Society, this might not be good news. The organization recommends minimal screen time for kids 2-4: no more than one hour a day. And for kids younger than 2? Zero hours. Nada. Nothing.

The CPS says any screen time for children that young can negatively impact “cognitive and psychosocial development and may adversely affect body composition.”

“The research available to date doesn’t distinguish screen time from each other, but it does show that children who spend more time in front of a screen have more risk for poor health outcomes,” said Dr. Kristen Houghton of the CPS.

As for children ages 3-5, tablets appear to be beneficial, although research hasn’t determined how much use is too much. What do you think? How young is too young for kids to begin using smart-phones and tablets?

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