Kids these days are equipped with certain standard-issue items. Babies get usually get a onesie, a pacifier, a stuffed toy, and maybe an iPad. Common Sense Media, a nonprofit focused on educating families about technology and media, has found that 38 percent of toddlers and babies under the age of 2 have used a mobile device.
James Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media, describes these kids as "true digital natives." The study involved an online survey of 1,463 parents with kids 8 and younger. Common Sense Media conducted a similar study in 2011 that found that only 10 percent of kids under the age of 2 had used a mobile device.
This change may partly reflect how mobile devices have gotten more integral to parents' lives. Instead of reaching for their keys to entertain a baby, they may be reaching for their smartphones or tablets. Disney is only a click away when you have mobile broadband.
Plenty of tough tablet and phone cases have also hit the market, geared for protecting expensive devices with materials that can survive even the most enthusiastic toddler attack. There are even tablets like those made by Vinci aimed specifically at very young users.
The study also delved into screen-time versus reading-time. "Even among infants and toddlers, screen media use dwarfs time spent reading. In a typical day, children under 2 spend more than twice as much time watching television and DVDs (55 minutes) as they do reading or being read to (19 minutes)," the study finds.
Times have certainly changed from the days of picture books and toys as primary entertainment. Those old-school items may never completely go out of style, but they are facing some stiff competition from the digital world.