Toddlers able to use tablets by age two
Research has found that children as young as 12 months regularly play with smartphones and tablets, with most toddlers able to handle them on their own. The majority of children in a study were found to be able to unlock and search for things on a smartphone or tablet by the age of two. It suggested that children spending time on devices such as tablets is not unhealthy as the interactivity is not dissimilar to traditional forms of play.
The study looked at a group of toddlers aged between 12 months and three years, out of which 82% of parents owned a smart device and 87% of these let their children play with the device. Around half the parents said that their child was able to unlock the screen, whilst 90% could swipe on a device. The youngest regular users of touchscreens were children aged just 12 months and, by 24 months, most toddlers had mastered the skills of unlocking, swiping and searching for features.
Although smartphones and tablets offer children a different kind of engagement, the report still warned that many apps designed for children are not regulated in terms of their quality and educational value.