Are smart phones harmful to toddlers?

Expert advice on how to moderate your toddler's interest in cellphones.

Photo by VikramRaghuvanshi/iStockphoto

Q: My two-year-old loves my iPhone. She takes photos and plays with the screen. It’s great for occupying her at restaurants, but is it safe for such a small child to use a smart phone like this?

A: Playing with a smart phone is different from talking on one, and is unlikely to be harmful. Also, studies haven’t found a definite connection between talking on a cellphone and brain problems like tumours. (Most studies look at the effects of long-term cellphone use.) But using the iPhone in moderation is the best advice, not only because of concern about the developing brain, but because it will allow her to continue to broaden her world. Introduce other interesting toys and activities that capture her attention.

A version of this article appeared in our August 2012 issue under the headline: “Ask our expert” (p. 50). Check out our Toddler community for discussions on behaviour and discipline.