Guilty as charged

An article about toddlers and iPhones landed on the New York Times’ homepage this morning, and despite the adorable headline—“Hi, Grandma! (Pocket Zoo hold)“—I was reluctant to read it.

I already know Ava and Olivia spent way too much time with our iPhones, and Olivia is pretty sure Bryan purchased the iPad for her use exclusively. (Full disclosure: That one’s watching Dora on the iMac as I type.) The upshot is that calming a fussy preschooler (or a bored kindergartner) is so darn easy when you have a smart device. The downside? The ever present concern about too much screen time.

From the NYT:

THE bedroom door opened and a light went on, signaling an end to nap time. The toddler, tousle-haired and sleepy-eyed, clambered to a wobbly stand in his crib. He smiled, reached out to his father, and uttered what is fast becoming the cry of his generation: “iPhone!”

TAP, TAP Brady Hotz, now 2, has been playing with his parents’ iPhones since he was 6 months; his mother, Kellie Hotz, lends hers for the 15-minute commute to school.

The iPhone has revolutionized telecommunications. It has also become the most effective tool in human history to mollify a fussy toddler, much to the delight of parents reveling in their newfound freedom to have a conversation in a restaurant or roam the supermarket aisles in peace. But just as adults have a hard time putting down their iPhones, so the device is now the Toy of Choice — akin to a treasured stuffed animal — for many 1-, 2- and 3-year-olds. It’s a phenomenon that is attracting the attention and concern of some childhood development specialists.

It’s a good (and short) read, and while I continue to feel guilty about our reliance on smart devices as tools in parenting, at least I know I’m not alone.

So, fellow parents, what’s your take? Everything in moderation, or are the risks of too much screen time just too high?

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Nicky on October 17, 2010 at 8:10 am

    I already struggle with “too much screen time” with just a tv, I can only imagine how Colin would beg if I had an iphone. As it is, my favorite feature on my phone is the keyguard. Colin can’t disable it yet. Good luck!

  2. Posted by jsmith425 on October 17, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Not that this will help you, but when I saw Olivia with the iPad I was impressed by how easily she could maneuver it. I guess that’s not a good thing? My main concern is how expensive of a toy it is, but I can see why you have other concerns!

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