Toddlers Obsessed with iPads: Could It Hurt Their Development?

Researchers said imagination needs to be exercised like a muscle in order for creativity to be developed. Over time, children's play became more elaborate and three-dimensional.

Klein said the more parents use iPads, smart phones or similar devices to calm their kids down, the less likely the kids are to learn how to calm themselves down naturally. In other words, if kids are constantly pacified with an iPad, they won't be learning the skills to come down from a tantrum.

Studies show that hours and hours of screen time doesn't do any real harm to a kid's eyesight. But it is associated with behavioral problems down the road, which is why the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages "passive screen time" for kids under age 2.

But tablets are not passive, they are interactive, and that's the intriguing twist. In fact, a recent report from the Millennium Cohort Study, a long-term research project in England that has been following the lives of 19,000 children born in 2000 and 2001, showed that toddlers do learn better from interactive media.

Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization behind "Sesame Street," has been developing educational apps designed as interactive.

"I'm trying to create content to engage you to interact with your child and so you can extend the learning," said Rosemari Tuglio, the vice president of education and research for Sesame Workshop.

Tuglio said the apps don't just teach letters and numbers, there is more social interaction with characters like Elmo.

As for the Klaus girls, they were thrilled to be reunited with their digital devices, even though, after a month of electronic deprivation, Devon learned an old-fashioned craft: sewing.

"I had free time to do that, like in the morning I started off doing it," she said. "But now, since I have my iPad, I probably won't do that. But I will still use my sewing machine."

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