Tablet computers and kids: What are the pros and cons?

Tablet computers and kids: What are the pros and cons?

EUGENE, Ore.--  This year, tablet computers are flying off the shelves - including those aimed at children.

But many are worried about the health risks associated with the electronic devices.

In Best Buy, several brands are targeting kids as young as three or four years old.  Print and television commercials featuring animated characters are fueling the popularity of tablets.

“We have kids coming in looking for that tablet with the bear.  So the marketing has been there and driving that.  Applications that are for these tablets are games and kid-friendly learning applications,” says Mikala Fromont, who works at Best Buy in Springfield. 

While the tablets themselves are not harmful, many doctors worry about kids too young using the devices or older children gluing themselves in front of their tablet for hours.

According to pediatrician Dr. Chris Hammond, sensory and social development could be delayed if youth spend too much time using electronics.

“A tablet is not verbally very interactive.  So as younger children are flipping through things and looking at things, they may lose some of their speech skills and development talking.  For older kids who spend too much time on tablets, they sometime begin to lack interaction with other people which is very important,” Hammond explains.

The American Pediatrics recommends no more than two hours of exposure to a screen daily, including televisions, computers, or tablets.