How young is too young for iPads? - KMSP-TV

How young is too young for iPads?

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

You need not look any further than YouTube to see young kids hooked on their parents' iPad. Frustrated parents are posting video of their toddlers demanding the high-tech tablets.

You might have seen the outbursts yourself at the mall, restaurants, and maybe even your own house.

Three-year-old Xavier reacts to when his mom, Waisheung Diaz, takes away the iPad.

"That's like his best friend, his buddy," Diaz said. "All day, every day. He'll wake up, he has it. If I want him to go to sleep, he has to fall asleep with it."

Diaz even tries to distract him with milk and cookies, but within five minutes, he's back on the iPad. His mom says he rarely goes out, and fights going to school without the tablet.

"The kids start having actual emotional withdrawal pains," explained Dr. Jeffrey Gardere, a behavioral psychologist.

Tools like the iPad offer kids opportunities to learn. The problems start when kids choose the virtual world over the real one.

"They're just not developing the proper social skills that other toddlers would -- which is to get out there and play with other kids," Gardere continued.

Apps like Timeclock, Screentime, and Gametime let you control iPad playtime. When time's up, it turns off.

Experts suggest setting up a schedule for your child, include lots of outside playtime, and try not to use the iPad as a babysitter.

"You just have to be brave. You have to be strong parents. You have to suck it up," added Dr. Gardere. "I wouldn't say it's bad parenting to hand a child an iPad just to shut them up. It is a little bit lazy."

Xavier's mom disagrees and says the iPad helps keep her son calm. The tablet, she says, helps him learn by giving him access to the internet.

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