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More toddlers watching iPads or TV in bed

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A survey of over 1000 families by Childwise has revealed that increasing numbers of toddlers are being allowed to snuggle up in bed watching TV on an iPad or other type of tablet before dropping off to sleep. 7% of kids aged 4 and under are allowed to watch TV programmes in bed using smart devices, which represents a rise of 3% on the previous year.

Access to tablets and smartphones

It is perhaps no surprise that the research revealed more than 75% of preschoolers have access to tablets and smartphones in the home. But further questioning also exposed the fact that some 30% of toddlers and pre-school children already have their very own tablet. The survey also showed that average viewing times are on the rise, with preschoolers now viewing 2.6 hours of TV per day, compared with 2.4 hours last year.

Childcare and health professionals have long been expressing concerns that unrestricted access to tech devices may be harming the general life prospects of small children, who may be turning to tech to the exclusion of other important social and developmental stimulants.

Increased screen time

Child health education specialist Doctor Aric Sigman told the Daily Mail: “It is imperative that parents are made aware of the new evidence and guidelines on young children consuming increasing amounts of recreational screen time in bed. More screen devices leads to more screen consumption.”

He added: “If parents were to put a refrigerator in their child’s bedroom, that child is likely to eat more, and if the fridge contained a choice between broccoli and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream one can be reasonably confident that the broccoli will never leave that fridge.”

Risk to GCSEs

Experts are concerned that habits formed in early childhood may set the scene for a future where device-driven downtime starts to impact on academic performance. A study by Cambridge University released in the summer suggested that every hour of screen time per day risks reducing an older child’s GCSE score by the equivalent of 2 grades.

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About Cally Worden

About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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