Toddlers on touch screens: parenting the 'app generation'

As the number of touch-screen devices – smart phones and tablets – multiplies dramatically in American homes, so, too, do the arguments for and against these devices being placed in little toddler hands.

According to a Nielsen survey, some 80 percent of tablet-owning parents let their young children use their devices; Babyshower.com found that 75 percent of moms regularly hand their smart phones to their toddlers. Apps for preschoolers is one of the fastest growing categories in the Apple Store. Some child-development experts are sounding an alarm about the effect of this new, interactive technology on young children, seeing it as a dangerous increase in "screen time," with various negative effects on development, while others see huge potential in an "app generation," in some areas even advocating an iPad for every preschooler.

All of this has left parents struggling to find a balance for raising what some call the touch-screen generation – those children born around the same time as the iPad, who are young enough to still be the full-time responsibility of adults but who also have a seemingly natural ability to scroll and swipe their way independently through the world via mobile devices. Whether they ban screen time completely or allow only educational apps, many moms and dads are trying to chart their own course through touch-screen parenting. Often, they feel they are on their own, making rules up as they go.


Toddlers on touch screens: parenting the 'app generation'