In today's technologically advanced world, how young is too young to play with an iPad? Seattle pediatrician Dr. Dimitri Christakis, who specializes in the effect of media on children, has been striving to answer this question for years.
Although Christakis once thought that media use by babies and toddlers was harmful to their learning process, new research has counteracted this claim. This research may come as a surprise to many nannies who were previously informed that they should save iPads and other digital devices for later in a child's lifetime.
Once anti-device, Christakis now claims that toddlers and babies younger than two could benefit from 30 minutes to an hour a day of playing with gadgets. In fact, in the JAMA Pediatrics journal he states that interactive iPad apps could even be as mentally stimulating as actual toys, such as blocks or dolls. It's important to note that toddlers should actively play with these gadgets – using their sense of touch, sound and sight – in order for the benefits to be worthwhile.
Christakis isn't alone in his opinions. Elizabeth Sowell, a neuropsychologist at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, echoed this sentiment in her interview with NBC.
"The brain is developing so rapidly during that period of time and interactive challenges, whether it's blocks or playing games on the iPad, that's really going to wire the brain differently than passive viewing," Sowell, who is also principal investigator at The Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles, told the source.
Naturally, iPad use should be regulated and performed in moderation and essentially it's up to the child's parents whether he can play with these devices or not.
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