Toddlers and Touchscreens: A Science in Development


In the last decade, smartphones and tablets have gone from being rare luxury devices to essential components of everyday life: Results of a recent survey show, for example, that family ownership of touchscreens in the UK increased from 7% in 2011 to 71% in 2014 (Ofcom, 2014). APS Board Member Annette Karmiloff-Smith and Tim Smith, psychological scientists at Birkbeck, University of London, want to know how this rise in digital technology may be affecting early child development. To do so, the scientists have established the TABLET project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, which aims to document the central role that touchscreen devices seem to play in family life and the enthusiasm that most children show for using the devices — in addition to recording parents’ concerns about digital technology.

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