Tablets are the new baby dummy

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  • We’ve all done it: given the kids something to entertain them for just long enough to get the washing up done, or even just for a few minutes of peace!

    Where once this might have involved giving your little one their dummy, a rustly packet of sweets or plonking them in front of CBeebies for an hour, new research carried out exclusively by us has revealed how mums are keeping their kids busy in 2013.

    A whopping 94% of you say you use your smart phone or tablet as a baby dummy to pacify grizzly toddlers and as a distraction tool for kids. You also said that 60% of your kids now spend more time on their technology devices than they do watching TV, with 75% spending over 5 hours a day on their phones and tablets – oh how times have changed!

    In the survey of over 1,400 parents, we asked you a range of questions about how your kids use technology, including what age you thought it was appropriate for children to start using these devices and what concerns you had about them.

    Here’s what you said!

    • 90% of parents think that it’s appropriate for children under the age of 5 to start using technology.
    • 70% of parents buy their kids mobile phones to have more time for themselves and to keep their kids quiet, entertained and busy.
    • Kids’ usage: 90% of children use their smartphone/tablet devices to play games or access social media.
    • 92% of parents encourage their kids to use it for educational purposes.
    • 80% of parents download up to ten apps on their own phone specifically for their kids to use and customise their devices for the use of their children.

    What worried you:

    • 64% of readers think that these devices ruin the
      quality of family life and 73% worry that these gadgets are not age
      appropriate and think that using mobile phone devices is more harmful
      than TV.

    Conflict of interests

    Where you may have justified buying your little one a tablet or smartphone of their own by thinking that it’s a new way for them to do their homework or access educational material, our survey reveals that realistically 90% of kids are using these devices for playing games, listening to music and accessing social media. And it’s not just the content that’s a worry, The Office of Fair Trading has recently looked into in-app purchases, specifically in kids’ games, after children have run up huge bills from ‘free’ games, which then charge to complete levels or buy extra features.

    goodtoknow’s Managing Editor, Charlotte said, ‘As tablet prices drop, it’s no surprise these devices are becoming increasingly commonplace in the family home… It begs the question, what are 2013’s kids missing out on by spending all this extra time playing games and using social media?’

    Well, what do you make of it all? Do your kids spend hours upon end on their smartphones/tablets? And do you use them to keep the kids entertained when you’re busy? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

    Where to next?

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