One in four children under the age of two reportedly have their own tablet. This might seem like a very tender age to be introducing tech, but such screen time can be useful for even the youngest of children, according to internet safety groups - so long as kids have the right supervision and boundaries.
Children in the UK are more likely to own a tablet than those in any other EU country and more than a third of three- to five-year-olds also have their own tablet, the Daily Telegraph reports.
Responding to the figures, Kate Edwards, education manager at internet safety company Childnet told HuffPost UK that while screen time could be useful and educational, it is important that parents introduce balance at an early age.
“From spending time in schools and speaking to people [about screen time] I am not exactly surprised,” she said. “But it’s important to remember that not all screen time is created equal.”
Edwards recommends parents engage children in activities “that bring their attention back to the real world” while they use devices - such as singing along to songs together or looking up recipes together.
She also said they should work to set good examples, such as not using technology when eating, avoiding overuse and discouraging children reaching for an iPad in every quiet moment.
CEO of Internet Matters Carolyn Bunting added: “Technology for young children can be beneficial and stimulating, however when tablets are used like a babysitter and kids aren’t sufficiently supervised - there are potential risks.
“Parents need to make sure that they are monitoring what their child is doing online, check whether they are connected to the internet and if so, have the correct safety settings applied to prevent inappropriate contact or content.
“Essentially, children need balance and therefore parents need to apply screen time limits so their child is taking part in other social and physical activities.”