Children getting electronic tablets and gadgets at younger ages - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Children getting electronic tablets and gadgets at younger ages

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Many children on Santa's "good list" this year got phones, tablets and other electronic gadgets under the tree.

They've joined a quickly growing number of kids glued to their mobile devices including those still in diapers.

"Whether we like it or not, these extraordinary new devices are here to stay," said James Steyer of Common Sense Media.

Steyer's group recently found a giant leap in the number of young children with access to mobile devices.

Within the past two years the percentage of kids under age 9 who've used smartphones and tablets soared from 38 percent to more than 70 percent.

This includes more than a third of kids under 2.

"You have all sorts of toddlers, and young kids from 0 to 5 walking up to screens, TV screens and trying to swipe them thinking that they're a tablet or a smartphone," Steyer said.

Some tablets are now designed for tiny hands.

There's even an infant bouncy seat outfitted for an iPad.

The key is setting a good example.

"If you're glued to your phone or your computer or your iPad, and you're not paying attention to your kids, they will do the same thing! They will watch your behavior," Steyer said.

Maybe they won't watch as much of what's on the screen if parents reinforce interaction with the three-dimensional world.

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