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The Problem with Babies and Cell Phones

Did you have a cell phone when you were a baby? Chances are high that you didn't, especially since cell phones were not widely used a few decades ago like they are now. Even that question may seem like a ridiculous one. However, many babies and toddlers today are getting a lot of access to screen time on cell phones. says, "Many parents let children use their devices for practical reasons; 73% of parents in the survey said they let their kids play with mobile devices while they were doing household chores, and 65% did so while running errand."

In fact, one-third of babies and toddlers are allowed to click around on their parent’s cell phone. Even babies as young as six months can be found playing with the phone regularly. It is strongly advised against allowing children under two have any type of entertainment media. This includes the television or messing around with a cell phone. The studies back up the warning saying that excessive media can lead to attention problems, school problems, sleep and eating disorders, and obesity.

What about Educational Apps?

Even though there are hundreds of educational apps that you can download for your children, they are not necessarily a good choice. Babies and children are not meant to learn on a two-dimensional screen. They are meant to learn through their surroundings and playtime, not technology.  Relying on the apps to teach your children can actually have adverse effects and can hinder infant development.

Think Before You Give

So while the guidelines for screen time may seem impossible to follow, that doesn’t mean you have to throw in the towel. Yes, being a parent is hard and there are many times you just need to hand over your cellphone to get through an important errand. You are not a bad parent if you allow your children a little bit of screen time.

Just remember to limit the screen time as much as possible. Before you hand your phone to an antsy toddler while in a long checkout line, try talking with her. Ask her about what she sees, what animals make which sounds, and so on.  Most of the time, bored or cranky toddlers can be distracted through questions, a funny song, or tickles.

In the end, you know what is best for your child. It is just a good reminder for all of us to spend a little less time on our phones and in front of the TV and more time with each other.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Donnie Ray Jones

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