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Scientists have discovered that most toddlers can use a touchscreen device by the age of two – a fact that most parents already know.

According to the Daily Mail, the researchers also found that some children as young as 12 months old are even using smartphones or tablets.

A team of scientists analysed the ability of toddlers to swipe, unlock or search on a modern touchscreen device.  Their study found that the average age at which most toddlers could carry out the tasks was around their second birthday.

Whilst health officials for years have warned that parents should limit the time that children spend staring at a screen, the authors of the new study from Cork University Hospital in Ireland, suggest that instead of being unhealthy for a child, time spent on touchscreen devices could actually benefit their development.

The researchers told The Daily Mail that, “Because the gadgets require touch and feel, their interactivity means they are not dissimilar to traditional forms of play.”

The study, published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood journal, involved 82 children aged between 12 months and three years.  Using questionnaires, filled in by parents, the researchers found that 82 per cent of parents owned a smart device, 87 per cent of whom let their child play with it.

Answers were indeed interesting; 50 per cent of parents said their child could unlock the screen while 91 per cent could swipe and 64 per cent could search the device for features.

The team found the youngest regular users of touch screens were aged 12 months and the average age at which children had mastered all three skills was 24 months.

Are your youngsters masters of touchscreens?  What age were they using a touchscreen device?  Share your experiences with us!

  • When I was studying ICT at Uni in my education degree, we learned that toddlers who use multimedia devices are more school ready, more confident, more learned, and happier than children whose screen time is limited or non-existent. Often times, the children who are the most outspoken, and who go on to further education, are the ones who had a strong basis in technology at a young age. :) My 1 year old plays with my touch phone and ipad… He can swipe, skip songs, open youtube, close windows/tabs/programs, open his Fisher Price apps, and call people… (He can’t call the right people, necessarily, but he’s getting there! LOL) I always said I’d limit my children’s tech before school age, but somehow it gets away with you. :D Luckily my lecturers insist that it’s not only safe, but recommended… So I’m good… Right? LOL!

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  • This doesn’t surprise me, but as long as it is in moderation and for education I see no problems. My Judy turned two year old can trace over letters and numbers, even recognising some of them already. I am seeing huge difference between him and his older siblings.

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  • This is all my kids but before 24months.

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  • Oh wow, 2 years old! And I thought 3 was pretty amazing!

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  • So far my little boy isn’t real interested in our phones and he is 15 months.

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  • Around 18 months my granddaughter was taking selfies. Now she’s three and can take photos and videos, view them when she’s done. She can watch her to shows on the iPad and play games.

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  • Lkegd

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  • My daughter has tried to unlock my smartphone but I have a password on it

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  • When my daughter was 2 years old, we didn’t even have a mobile phone. Imagine a touch screen device. :-)

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  • but to be fair, it is not hard AT ALL to swipe and unlock things lol. need to put a password on it and then watch the kids try to open the phone… Mwhahaha!!!

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  • Not sure if this is a good or bad thing – I guess only time will tell.

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  • I don’t think this is a bad thing – so long as other things are not ignored. Essential life skill these days.

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  • My son figured out the swipe thing at 6 months. Now at 21 months he can get to youtube to play a Thomas the Tank Engine video… I want to be proud but I am actually really terrified at how quickly they learn things!

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  • This is definitely true in my house. My kids knew how to use iPhone and iPads before the good day 3 word sentences.

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