How young is too young for technology?

How young is too young for technology?

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It doesn't take long to see that 13-month-old Kepler Colwell loves his mom, books and his own iPod. It doesn't take long to see that 13-month-old Kepler Colwell loves his mom, books and his own iPod.
"I think you just have to go with the times," Kayla Colwell said. "I think you just have to go with the times," Kayla Colwell said.
"He loved 'ABC Mouse.' It teaches him phonics, so we said what the heck? It's the new age. It's technology. That's what he will be using, so why not?" said Kayla Colwell. "He loved 'ABC Mouse.' It teaches him phonics, so we said what the heck? It's the new age. It's technology. That's what he will be using, so why not?" said Kayla Colwell.
"Many of our kids today are getting started with technology way too early. They are learning to interact, if you can call it interaction, they are learning to look at screens which is not the same as interacting with a human being," said Dr. Jan Neece. "Many of our kids today are getting started with technology way too early. They are learning to interact, if you can call it interaction, they are learning to look at screens which is not the same as interacting with a human being," said Dr. Jan Neece.
Kayla Colwell says she expects critics, but that Kepler has his fair share of traditional toys and that they don't use the iPod as a babysitter. Kayla Colwell says she expects critics, but that Kepler has his fair share of traditional toys and that they don't use the iPod as a babysitter.

By KRISTIN FARLEY
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - How young is too young for technology? That very question was behind a  petition to get one of the largest toy makers, Fisher Price, to issue a recall for its baby bouncer with a built-in tablet screen this past Christmas.

Many were outraged, saying this was encouraging parents use the seats as babysitters and encouraging screen time for infants.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has been firm about its opinion on screen time for children, saying excessive media use can ultimately lead to attention problems, school difficulties, sleep and eating disorders, and obesity.

We found one mom who says "times are changing." Her son is barely a year old and he already has his own iPod Touch.

It doesn't take long to see that 13-month-old Kepler Colwell loves his mom, books and his own iPod.

We sat down with him just a few weeks after his parents decided he was old enough to have his own touch screen device.

"He loved 'ABC Mouse.' It teaches him phonics, so we said what the heck? It's the new age. It's technology. That's what he will be using, so why not?" said Kayla Colwell.

However, doctors at Children's Hospital say there are lots of reasons to wait. 

"Many of our kids today are getting started with technology way too early. They are learning to interact, if you can call it interaction, they are learning to look at screens which is not the same as interacting with a human being," said Dr. Jan Neece.

Dr. Neece works with families of children with developmental delays. She says old fashioned toys are still the best for kids under the age of two.

"The simplest kinds of toys, boxes and balls, things that don't do anything when you touch them, are better for a baby or toddlers brain than something that you run your finger over and only manipulate that way," said Dr. Neece.

Dr. Neece went on to say that brain connections are being made in the early years,and that if parents are hoping for their child to develop the ability to entertain themselves, screen time may do just the opposite.

"You want a little time to yourself. You need to help your child to develop independent play skills rather than needing a screen to keep them happy," she said.

Kayla Colwell says she expects critics, but that Kepler has his fair share of traditional toys and that they don't use the iPod as a babysitter.

"We kind of use it like a book to point out letters, sounds and that kind of thing. And you can do the same thing with that, but you don't have to haul around 10 books in your baby bag to the stores," Colwell said. "I think you just have to go with the times."

Many studies suggest it is just too early to know for sure if or how damaging touch screen devices can be for your kids.

Dr. Neece says the studies are there for computers and TV's, and that there is not reason to think that things will be any different for touch screen devices.

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