The prevalence of iPad among toddlers results in the rise of a generation loosely called the 'iTods'. One in ten children under four years of age uses tablets and mobile phones to watch TV despite parents' warning.
A new research highlights the health dangers of night-time viewing in toddlers. The research team says that 'iTod' parents see the constant access to tablets as a luxury or treats that they can give despite its health hazards.
Childcare experts add that the bedroom has become an 'entertainment zone' where kids can play and watch shows on their devices. The bedroom is meant for rest and relaxation. In recent years, it has become a place for extended play.
Research body Childwise's survey of 1,034 parents with toddlers aged six months to four years old shows that seven percent of the kids watch TV in bed before sleeping. In 2014, the findings only involve three percent. The figures' increase expose how easy it is for toddlers to have access to television at home.
Childwise also measured the amount of TV time. In 2014, toddlers watched an average of 2.4 hours daily. In 2015, kids watch an average of 2.6 hours a day. The researchers say that the surge is linked to the availability of portable devices and access to on-demand shows and services. Alarmingly, 73 percent of children under four use smart phones and tablets. Whether it's for education or entertainment, the rate ballooned from 27 percent in 2012.
The study shows 29 percent of the 'iTods' have their very own tablet. Apps are not the only source of entertainment for these kids. The research show 13 percent of 'iTods' have their own gaming consoles for added play time.
The Childwise research challenged the previously published link between age and device possession. The rise of the 'iTods' poses not only health hazards but also concerns on parental guidance.
"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," said Dr. Aric Sigman from the Royal Society of Medicine who specializes in child health education. He urged parents to set better examples and be wary of their smart phone or tablet activities in front of their children.
Relevant studies from United States' Seattle Children's Institute reveal that watching television after 7pm affects a child's sleeping routine. Children can have a hard time falling asleep and feel tired when they wake up. A related research from Cambridge University show that an hour of screen time daily damages a child's General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) score.