Six-month-olds are using mobile phones: Survey

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New York: More than one-third of babies are tapping on smartphones and tablets even before they learn to walk or talk, a US-based survey shows.

By the age of one, one in every seven toddlers is using devices for at least an hour a day, the findings showed. “We did not expect children were using the devices from the age of six months,” said lead author Hilda Kabali from Einstein Healthcare Network in the US.

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

The researchers developed a 20-item survey to find out, when young children are first exposed to mobile media and how they use devices.

Parents of children ages six months to four years old, who were at a hospital-based paediatric clinic that serves a low-income, minority community were recruited to fill out the survey.

Results from 370 parents showed that children younger than one year of age were exposed to media devices in surprisingly large numbers: 52 percent had watched TV shows, 36 percent had touched or scrolled a screen, 24 percent had called someone, 15 percent used apps and 12 percent played video games.

They found that by the age of two, most children were using mobile devices. The findings were presented today at the Paediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in San Diego.

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