– Tablets and smartphones were among the top holiday gifts for children in 2013. Since even a 3-year-old kid is able to use these kind of devices, tablets and smartphones are increasingly used as pacifiers and babysitters. A trend that worries some experts who wonder if the apps and games available on those devices have any educational value. Tablet-related research is still in its infancy and there is no evidence, so far, that TV or tablet screen time provides any developmental benefit for babies and toddlers. On the contrary, it can be detrimental.

– Too much screen time can slow language development and deprive children from the more evident benefits from non-electronic toys and games, and above all, from the interaction with adults. “The single most important thing for children is time with parents and caregivers. Nothing is more important in terms of social development. If time with the tablet comes at the expense of that, that’s not good,” says Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Child with Apple iPad (Wikimedia Commons - w/Effects)