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For Your Child: To iPad, or not to iPad. That is the Question?

The pro's and con's of exposing your child to mainstream mobile devices.

Mobile devices have enhanced our lives in more ways than we can count. From our professional life to personal, everything is literally at our fingertips.

Does the same go for children?

Mobile devices like tablets and smart phones are used for education as well as entertainment. Some toy manufactures even make decorative cases aimed to appeal to toddlers as young as 12 months. The question is, should we limit the amount of media exposure our child receives?

"We're always concerned about the entertainment value," said Saidi Clemente, MD, director, Developmental/Behavioral Pediatrics. Children less than two should not be exposed to media at all. After age two, we recommend two hours a day."

"Though it goes without saying mobile devices will have –if not already- a role in traditional education and the earlier they learn these systems, the greater advantage they'll have in the future," Clemente said, stressing: "Everything in moderation."

Studies have shown mobile devices having therapeutic benefits in children with autism, seemingly making them more receptive and focused. Clemente explained how mobile devices can aid in teaching vocabulary, language, and academic skills; especially with children who have difficulties with conventional therapies like flashcards and paper aids.

It's a question of Social Development.

Dr. Clemente's main concern is what early exposure with these devices does to a child's interaction with people. "I was at a restaurant recently and I saw four young adults sitting at a table. All were using mobile devices. Not one spoke to the other," said Clemente.

Dr. Clemente said that that many popular educational videos on the market do more harm than good. "Kids get their stimulation from people, not TV and media – it's detrimental to their focus," she said adding, "The stimulation you get from your parents is better than anything the media can offer."

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