Toddler tech: How young is too young for a smartphone?


(CBS News) Everyone has a smartphone these days, even toddlers. New research says 25 percent of kids 2 years old and younger have their own smartphones, which parents say is used as a learning tool for their kids.

However, experts say that this is way too young for children to be utilizing this type of technology and that the kids are not learning but are just being given the phone as a distraction. It is the same as putting a child in front of a television.

"A toddler should be rolling around, touching things, developing their brains and not checking out the latest YouTube video," said CBS News contributor Lee Woodruff on "CBS This Morning: Satruday."

One major reason why experts are concerned is that this type of smartphone use, at such a young age, can impede early development in areas that would impact the child for the rest of their lives.

Since childhood is a time for serious brain development, children could face problems with their basic social, verbal and learning skills.

Psychiatrist Gail Saltz told the "CBS This Morning: Saturday" co-hosts that this type of smartphone use could actually hurt the child and that "this is really for babysitting purposes or the fear that your child can't be bored."

"These years are the years that you need to be developing vocabulary, which means speaking and listening, so if you're engaged in a gadget, you're really minimizing that," she said. "We've seen all kinds of data now on play and how important it is to, frankly, be bored and be stimulated to do imaginative play, what that does for building creativity."

She also said that one thing that most parents do not realize is that a smartphone is "structured time" and does not allow for free thinking.

For Dr. Gail Saltz and Lee Woodruff's full interview, watch the video in the player above.