As I write this post with my husband mercifully en-route home from a business trip, my three-year-old is playing with his latest obsession (toy crocodiles) and my one-year-old is looking through photos… on my iPhone (that’s him above). It’s rather a relief to know I’m not alone when it comes to handing over a smartphone to a child in need of distraction.
I must admit I was blown away when I first handed my youngest my smartphone, and he proceeded to, quite dexterously (albeit with chubby little digits) slide the screen across and peruse a variety of apps he had no hope of understanding. Of course, I’m well aware this behaviour is not innate – but it may as well be. Research has revealed more than one in four mothers hand their bored or restless child a smartphone, rather than traditional pacifiers, like toys or dummies.
The UK study found that while forty percent of mothers who give their phones to their children restrict playtime to no longer than ten minutes, one in ten mums admit to leaving their children to play with the device for up to two hours.
It’s an interesting concept. There’s a school of thought that indicates this is the way of the world, and smart devices give children a head-start in hand-eye co-ordination. A sign of the times, or a sign of relaxed parenting? What are your thoughts?
Take a look at our previous posts on apps if you’re keen to see just what kids are doing on their parent’s smart devices.