A new study found that even in most impoverished communities, children have access to mobile media devices at their home.
Dr. Matilde Irigoyen, chief of paediatrics and adolescent medicine at the Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia who also led the new study, said that there was no evidence of ‘digital divide’ in these families that were not well-off financially.
‘Digital divide’ is a term that refers to the difference between accesses to technology in wealthy families, compared with low-income families.
“Decreasing disparities in the digital divide is a good thing,” Dr. Irigoyen stated.
According to Dr. Irigoyen, learning to use mobile devices at a young age and having permanent access to them is a step forward to digital literacy.
In the study – published November 2 in the journal Paediatrics – the researchers surveyed the parents of 350 children in 2014, at a paediatric clinic in an impoverished community of Philadelphia. The children were between 6 months and 4 years old.
The findings revealed that 97 percent of the households in the neighbourhood had televisions, about 83 percent had tablets, approximately 77 percent had smartphones (at least one), 50 percent of the households had computers, they had game consoles, and internet access.
Dr. Irigoyen said most of the parents and children had access to a mobile device.
Moreover, the researchers also found that children used the devices quite often. By the age of one they already had used a mobile device mostly to play a game, watch a video, or use an app.
By the age of 4, about 75 percent of the children owned a mobile device, and 50 percent of them had their own TV sets. Children ages 3 to 4 usually spent about an hour on the devices each day.
One of the benefits of early exposure to technology and digital devices is that is can increase the educational access of a young child, Dr. Irigoyen said.
However, about 66 percent of the parents gave the devices to their kids not for educational purposes, but rather to keep them calm and distracted, as the parents proceeded to do their household chores. Approximately 33 percent of the parents put their children to sleep using the devices.
Image Source: telegraph