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Survey Shows Many Children under Five Left To Mobile Devices

A small survey recently conducted found that three-fourths of all children surveyed used tablets, smartphones, or iPods without supervision by the age of four. Although only conducted in one city and based on self-reports from parents, experts still indicate that this points to a trend of electronic devices becoming deeply embedded in childhood experiences. In fact, nationwide surveys conducted in 2013 indicated that over 70 percent of children ages eight or younger used a mobile device—up from 38 percent in 2011. And many are using more than one device at a time.


Why are parents allowing for this level of use? Most said that they allow it in order to placate their child in public; others reported its allowance in order to focus on other household work or to help put their child to sleep.

Can It Do Harm?

Psychology experts have indicated that they really do not know what kind of impact this will have on early social development. What they do know is that a bright screen can actually prevent children from going to sleep. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics at one point recommended “total screen abstinence” for all children under the age of two, but has since changed its recommendation to simply setting time limits with the devices.

Still, experts indicate that it’s the lack of supervision that is particularly worrisome; in the same way that parents wouldn’t necessarily leave junk food out, for example, without some supervision, you shouldn’t leave your child to use the mobile device alone, as well. While some “interactive apps” such as “Bedtime Math” have been found to improve math skills for certain ages, the survey indicated that children, if left on their own, were more likely to watch videos and other entertainment-oriented programs (as opposed to educational/interactive ones).

Industry Is Not Making It Easier For Divorced Parents

One only needs to turn on the television to see why so many children are using mobile devices. Certain “apps” have been advertised as helping do the work of two parents and enabling “us divorced moms” to “keep a handle on our family duties.” In fact, one app titled “Our Family Wizard” has been described as “a way to simplify your shared custody” by using it to communicate with your child’s parent. There’s even an app for “Divorce Coping” and a “Sniper Shooter” for when you “just want to shoot someone.” In reality, these devices (and apps) need to be watched closely, and are no substitute for spending time with your child, particularly if they are having a difficult time with the divorce.

Expertise in Divorce, Custody, Child Support, and Other Areas of Family Law

Whether you are dealing with child custody or support issues, or the repercussions of a recent divorce and how that has impacted your family, having a compassion attorney on your side can make all the difference. At Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. in Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale, we work hard to make sure you are not on your own. Contact us today for a consultation.

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