The impact of the tablet on the child (ages 2-13)

nterested in information about the benefits and harms of tablets and mobile devices among children, we began to study the information that exists to date. After reading a large number of sources, we decided to systematize them and write this article from the data obtained. The essence of our article is to give parents a reason to think about the education of their child. What information he gets, how and where, whether it is useful or harmful. How much time a parent devotes to his child. I decided that the solution to the problem is not in the complete prohibition of information about new technologies, or full access to them. But to give the information necessary for the child in doses. That is, so that the age corresponds to the information received.


There is a lot of information on the Internet about the benefits of the tablet (for example on this site you can find absolutely any tablets and described a few tips that would be of maximum benefit) , as well as its harms for the child. Based on real events and research that took place, as well as how it is viewed in different countries of the world. From doctors, from psychologists, from companies that promote tablets and educational games for children. Each parent has his own opinion on the use of tablets by children, or a categorical restriction or total ban on the use of tablets by children, or temporary restrictions or complete freedom. After all, children are the same personality as adults, sometimes they can even teach their parents. But children pay special attention to how and what parents do with mobile devices.

The materials studied are systematized and structured. The benefit of what you have read is sure to be, at least you will be as informed as possible about the use of the child's information space from different points of view. Many "facts", sayings and just opinions invariably cause a smile, many today simply no longer support, what was once beyond comprehension is now the norm, if not beyond.

This article contains a huge amount of information, which is difficult to cover, because the sources are really a lot, but gives the opportunity to reflect on how, where and why this world is going and what lies ahead. Let's look at the research that has been done in the world up to this point, on the use of tablets by children. We have tried to collect all sorts of materials on the subject.

Research Around the World

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) conducted research on the effects of tablets on adult health. The data were published in the journal Applied Ergonomics under the title "Light level and duration of exposure determine the impact of self-luminous tablets on melatonin (sleep hormone production)". The study found that using a tablet for two hours in bright light reduced the concentration of melatonin. Most often, lovers of reading, do it at night and at maximum screen brightness, a very high risk of acquiring insomnia, headaches, irritability, increased fatigue

Statistics on the use of tablets by children around the world

I suggest we go through some of the countries of the world and see how they are doing.


In the U.S. statistics show that in 2013 75% of children under the age of 8 have access to a tablet, smartphone, or any mobile device at home. Although 2 years ago, in 2011, the number of users among children was only 52%. Families with children under the age of 8 increased the number of tablet devices from 8% to 40%, a 5-fold increase in just 2 years.

Next, we looked at how children under the age of 8 used the tablet. The results were as follows - 72% of children used a mobile device to play games, watch videos and other applications, compared to 38% in 2011.

The percentage of children under age 8 who use mobile devices on a daily basis - at least once a day or more - has more than doubled, from 8% to 17%.

The above data is based on a survey and study of 1,463 U.S. parents and their children under age 8.

Another experiment was conducted at the University of California in 2014. They created two groups with children, one group had 54 children, the other 51. One group was given phones and asked to use them constantly for 5 days. The second group spent 5 days at a children's camp outdoors, without phones.

After the experiment the scientists made the following conclusions: the children who spent all the time with mobile devices showed their emotions much worse, sometimes they didn't even understand what the person they were talking to was feeling. The ability to correctly identify people's emotions was significantly higher for children who spent 5 days at the camp. Communicating live, without mobile devices, through hand gestures and facial expressions, language and emotions improved communication skills.

A very interesting study-experiment was conducted in 2015 by Courtney Blackwell, a candidate of pedagogical sciences. The experiment was conducted in 3 Chicago elementary schools. In one school each of the 100 preschoolers had an iPad, in another school Ipad accounted for five students, in the third Ipad children were not. They found that children who shared Ipad's scored 28% higher on a standardized learning test at the end of the year compared to the beginning of the year. Children who had their own tablets improved their scores by 24%, those who did not have devices increased their scores by 20%. While the differences are not large, they are statistically significant, according to Blackwell.


Let's take statistics on children's use of tablets in the United Kingdom. More than 2,000 children between the ages of 8 and 16 were surveyed in 2014.

As we can see, the children surveyed use the tablet as follows:
87% - for playing games;
78% - watching videos2;
76% - for the Internet;
75% - to learn something1;
74% - downloading various applications;
53% - social networking;
52% - taking pictures and videos2;
48% - for networking with friends;
48% - video chatting;
47% - watching TV.

According to 2015 statistics, one in 3 children in the UK has their own tablet, a year ago it was one in 5. Under the age of 15, 60% of children use a tablet computer at home.

Studies have been conducted:

  • "In just 5 years - half of families in the UK have started using tablets" - Ofcom's government media regulator;
  • "Measuring the national well-being and well-being of children, 2012" - by the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER).

The 2012 National Wellness and Well-Being Measurement of Children study also looked at how technology use (tablets, phones, and other electronic devices) and children's health are related. It found that children in the U.K. who used technology for 1 hour during the school day felt better than children who used devices for 4 or more hours.

The Association of Teachers and Educators (ATL) warned parents in a Dailymail article that children under two years of age using the iPad (no timescale for use was specified) have more difficulty performing simple tasks later. Colin Kinney, representing ATL's Northern Ireland chapter, said some parents have substituted tablet use for social skills development.

"I've talked to many children's teachers who have concerns about the growing number of young students who can swipe quickly on a screen but have minimal coordination skills to play with standard blocks, cubes or other students. Parents of such students talk proudly about their ability to use a tablet or smartphone," he said."Many of us have seen some students' brilliant computer skills outweigh their deteriorating pen skills in doing so. They are often unable to apply what they have learned from textbooks or in the classroom."

Members also noted that some children have trouble taking written tests because technology affects a person's memory (tactile or motor) and decreases concentration. Using tablets and smartphones, children have access to instant information, and because of this, children may be learning less and remembering less.

Here's what Susan Adele Greenfield, English scientist, writer, and member of the House of Lords, has to say about brain function and the impact of information technology on the human mind:

"What worries me about the information stream is the possibility of losing the skill to think coherently, structurally. Because if you know a lot of things, but do not do the thinking work to connect them to each other, they remain a disjointed set of facts. You lose the skill to process information and create context out of it. When people tell me that you can teach a three-year-old to use a google search, it's wild to me. After all, we must first teach him to ask and formulate questions. It's silly to say that books are good and screens are bad. The world is changing at an enormous speed, we have to find ways to adapt and make the most of screen technologies without compromising our values.

South Korea

As of July 2012, the number of Internet users in South Korea among persons 3 and older was 38,120,000 (an increase of 940,000 over 2011). This amounted to 78.4% of the country's total population.

More than 90 percent of the population ages 6 and older use cell phones and smartphones.

In one modern-day country in the world (South Korea), with almost the fastest Internet on the planet, 160,000 children between the ages of 5 and 9 are Internet addicts, data from the National Information Society Agency. A study conducted on Internet addiction found that 7.2 percent, or 2,200,000 Internet users ages 5-49 are at risk of addiction.

Note on the graphs show a decrease from Internet addiction. But at the same time we should remember that the number of Internet users has increased by 0.4% (940,000). The age of Internet use is getting lower, causing an increase in Internet addiction among preschool children.


Online Market Intelligence (OMI) conducted a survey in 2012. On the basis of this survey, another company Digitalparentingrussia analyzed the survey and wrote a report: "What digital devices do parents of underage children use?" The survey was conducted in Russian cities with millions of people. Participants were between the ages of 18-55, who were parents of children under the age of 18. Only one family member could take part in the survey, so nearly 4,000 people were surveyed. According to the results of the survey, the cell phone, laptop and computer have become a part of most people's lives. A tablet was used by 12% of parents and 8% of children.

One of the questions was about the willingness of parents, over time, to give their digital devices to their children and with an indication during the anticipated period. Let's consider only the data on cell phones and tablets.

What do parents do together with their children on digital devices? We found out that searching the Internet is one common collaborative activity. Paper books lose relevance over time.

And now let's look at the survey of the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM) about the share of Internet users in Russia and what devices are most often used to access the Internet.

In 2015, the share of those who use a tablet, smartphone or laptop to access the Internet increased significantly compared to 2012.

In 2013, one of Moscow's kindergartens conducted a Digital Kindergarten experiment. For several groups they bought tablets and developed special developmental games. Methodologist Elena Kirillova notes:

"Our experience showed that children who were engaged on tablets had significantly increased their motivation and self-esteem. They were awarded points for correctly completed tasks. To say that the children enjoyed doing it is not to say anything.

Teachers in kindergartens are trying to use new technologies in combination, combining a virtual picture and a real game. Here is another example. In front of a group of preschool children, an interactive screen with a volcano erupting. 

Next, the teacher shows children a model of the volcano and conducts a simple chemical experiment with soda, vinegar and some red paint. After seeing the eruption in miniature, the children must draw the volcano.

Kindergarten teacher Yulia Baryshnikova:

"New technology opens up many opportunities for development, children can be shown things they wouldn't have seen live before. But you can't limit yourself only to the screen. Drawing, modeling with plasticine, "live" games are hard to replace.

Interesting thoughts concerning printed and screen text were expressed by Denis Zolotorov. The text on paper and the text on the screen of the monitor or any other digital device differ significantly from each other not only in terms of technical means and the nature of its creation, but also in perception and interpretation.

Health attitudes around the world toward the use of tablets by children

A report by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) recommends that all reasonable measures be taken to reduce exposure to electromagnetic radiation, especially radio frequencies from cell phones of children and young people who seem to be most at risk of brain tumors.

Researchers from the Russian Electromagnetic Safety Center (ESC) say that electromagnetic radiation from modern communication devices has a negative effect on the central nervous system. Children are the most affected. They conducted an analysis among schoolchildren who regularly used tablets and smartphones, and found that such children differ from their peers in distracted attention.

According to Russian sanitary norms, it is not recommended for children to use: phones, smartphones, tablets.

Opinions of psychologists

According to psychologist Emma Schott, smartphone users live completely different lives, which negatively affects communication with people.

"We think that phones make it easier to communicate, but that's not true. Studies have shown that communicating with virtual social media friends while eating or relaxing negatively affects family relationships and threatens to develop conflict," she concludes.

To avoid fights, a simple rule is to keep your phone away from you during meals and conversations with loved ones.
The use of tablets and computers in education can lead to children having a smaller vocabulary over time, compared with the children of the previous generation, who were taught in the traditional way. These are the conclusions reached by The Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, following research.

An experiment was conducted in which 27 volunteers took part. During which they tried to memorize non-existent words - verbally and visually. It was found that the volunteers were quicker to memorize a word when they heard it and tried to pronounce it. And when the word came across the screens of electronic devices, the participants of the experiment did not memorize it.


The ubiquity, adoption of tablets and new technologies will continue to occur. There are both positives and negatives. It is possible to introduce everywhere without restrictions and rules of use, and then as in South Korea to allocate money for treatment of addiction to online games, or, as in Singapore, where tablets and gadgets are used as assistants in learning, not as a substitute for traditional education. Parents need to remember that no digital electronic device can replace communication for children. First and foremost, parents are responsible for their children's health, upbringing, education, and development.