A new study on this subject from a team led by Dr. Ruth Milanaik, an attending developmental and behavioral physician at the Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York on Long Island, New York, looked at the very youngest children -- infants and toddlers up to age three -- to examine what the researchers called "touchscreen device usage" or TDU, to see how use of or exposure to such devices as smart phones and iPads impacts children's development.
Dr. Milanaik noted that the study was prompted, in part, by the observation that the "number one toy" that parents gave their children to play with at a newborn follow-up clinic was a smartphone. In an article on the study in Forbes, she noted that parents were substituting smart phones for books and other baby toys and stated, "Many parents did not seem to bring any other distraction for their children except the touch screen devices.”
Dr. Paul Yellin commented, "Dr. Millanaik’s quote may get to the heart of the matter. It may not be the devices per se, but rather the fact that they are used instead of reading or speaking to children. This is consistent with recent research demonstrating the importance of exposure to language in the early years."