The iPhone has "revolutionized telecommunications", as well as become "the most effective tool in human history to mollify a fussy toddler, much to the delight of parents reveling in their newfound freedom,” writes New York Times. “Just as adults have a hard time putting down their iPhones, so the device is now the Toy of Choice”.
However, according to the same article, it’s a phenomenon that is attracting the concern of some childhood development specialists. Parents sharing iPhones with their kids often feel guilty too, wondering whether it is indeed an educational tool, or a passive amusement like television. The American Academy of Pediatrics has long advised parents not to let their children watch any TV until they are at least 2 years old.
Dr. Gwenn Schurgin O’Keeffe, a pediatrician who is a member of the academy’s council of communications and media, said the group is continually reassessing its guidelines for new forms of “screen time.” “The cellphone industry is becoming so complex that we always come back to the table and wonder should we have a specific guideline for cellphones,” she said. But, “At the moment, we seem to feel it’s the same as TV.”
As with TV, the world is "increasingly divided into those parents who allow iPhone use and those who don’t,” says New York Times. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a psychology professor at Temple University who specializes in early language development, sides with the Don’ts. “Research shows that children learn best through active engagement that helps them adapt”, she said, “and interacting with a screen doesn’t qualify”.