The Talker: Using mobile gadgets to babysit your kids - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

The Talker: Using mobile gadgets to babysit your kids

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

We are letting our children -- even the youngest of our children -- have unsupervised use of smartphones, tablets and other gadgets hooked up to the internet.

There are a few ways we know. First, is the 14-month-old girl in Portland who likes to play with her daddy's Android phone. That came back to bite him when he realized the girl got onto Ebay, pushed a few buttons, and bought a car. Fortunately it was an old car that cost just $225.

The other way we know about the trend is from research. A survey looked at U.S. parents with children from two to 13 years old. It found that 58% of parents have given their children a tech gadget to play with so that they could get a break from dealing with the little ones. Call it an electronic babysitter.

A separate study from Northwestern University found about the same number of parents, 59%, say they are not worried about their kids becoming addicted to media devices like phones and tablet computers. 30 percent said they are worried about addiction.

Not much is known about how these gadgets affect the brains and development of children, but a lot of doctors have concerns. For one thing, they worry if kids have their noses in a phone the whole time they're with adults in a restaurant, they'll miss out on some of the nuances of communicating with people face- to- face.

They also might not learn how to be bored and how to just be with themselves in their own minds. Being able to be alone is a key life skill, which can lead to the best kind of thinking.

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