Research has shown that too much time spent on iPads and similar touchscreen devices could result in the muscles and bones of young children not developing properly. The study compared children aged three and four who played with toys against mates using electronic devices.
Physiotherapy professor Leon Straker, of Curtin University, in Perth, Western Australia, said the study tracked children over the first five years of their lives to see how use of devices affects their physical, mental and social development. The research involved 10 children, some of whom had iPads while others played with toys.
Prof Straker said those who used iPads moved their upper limbs and whole body less in a 15 minute period than when they played with toys, but more than when they watched TV.
The results showed children playing with toys moved their upper limbs six times as much as when watching TV and three times as much as when using an iPad. Children playing with toys also moved their whole body twice as much compared to when using an iPad and three times more than watching TV. He recommended young children spend only short periods of time on touch tablets, about 15 minutes, and no more than an hour a day in total on all electronic screens
Other studies have highlighted the impact of children using electronic devices on their weight and attention spans, compared with traditional play. Some experts argue that children under three should have no access to them altogether.
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