Generation iPad: Could Device Hurt Toddlers' Development?

Busy parents with young kids love the iPad, but what is it doing to kids' brains?
3:00 | 04/02/13

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Transcript for Generation iPad: Could Device Hurt Toddlers' Development?
Happy and healthy these -- these stock answers most parents give when asked what they want for their young children. When deep down what they really want is for them to be quietly occupied. For centuries that was achieved through rocks and sticks and imagination then came comic books and TV and now we have the iPad and the Smartphone. But while they are great restaurant distractions. -- are -- -- touch screens -- and all those growing little brains. Here's ABC's juju Chang. Thank you iPad there are plenty proud parents sharing their -- touch screen skills on YouTube. Showing -- -- world. She and when it's taken way you often get business batteries -- In a recent survey 70% of parents admitted to letting their kids to use their user friendly devices and -- worry about what it's doing to their tiny developing brain. The iPad didn't even exist three years ago so there's no hard data yet. Is -- shrinking their attention spans ruining their eyesight or perhaps stunting their social skills. -- and -- nine -- seven and Dalton who's four. They are savvy digital diva some kind of -- eight. Can you Jeremy. -- You hear me. -- the classes of New Jersey are very modern family. So if we'd like to eat which we never -- and there on a control we can with -- -- and they will completely be distracted until look at Iraq. -- You need you. She's three OK she's not supposed yeah. We -- to see what would happen if they go high iPad and iPhone free for a month. And you heard me cold Turkey. He -- but -- I touched. By iphones. -- by iPhone and it by an iPad. Can't play with them anymore came. -- -- -- The girls were left to play with their and alone toys and had to resort to imaginary play that and that's not realize that. -- so you're pretending it's and I. And perhaps not surprisingly they -- not a lot more. To help us understand what we're seeing we went to Barnard university's renowned toddler center to observe through a two -- -- kids reacting to traditional toys vs an iPad. The center tested something known as distract ability. First the kids ages three to five -- -- -- -- eyewitness the grownups call their names and see how readily they response. Jackson and whether you play -- we'll look at whether you're playing over and then -- could get. Serena what are you matching -- Serena. Meanwhile the only toddler managed to resist its magnetic pull fully tunes out her environment -- -- you wanna come play with -- No you keep playing that you like. Next the tablets confiscated. And sat there -- way it seemed to the researchers that the -- -- become more verbal more social. More creative features. -- -- declined specializes in toddler social and emotional development. Two -- it became an instant on how. Klein says the more you use a device to calm your kids down. The less likely they are to learn to do with -- -- It's a can't get upset you'll get through it cash and this latest stop them in their tracks can be quite quite so if you'd never learned that skill because you're constantly pacified with an iPad. You're not learning the skill of coming back from a town exactly. Studies show that hours and hours of screen time does no real harm to kids eyesight but -- is associated with behavioral problems down the road. Which is why the American academy of pediatrics discourages passive screen time for kids under two. You know you know the tablets aren't -- -- interactive and that -- intriguing twist. Because long term research just released says that -- -- learn better from interactive media. The team behind the beloved Sesame Street characters has been developing educational apps appeared to be interactive. I think the conventional wisdom is that parents who give their toddlers apps are terrible parents. I think that's wrong I really do I'm trying to create content to engage you to interact with your child and think you could extend the learning. We -- truly -- says apps can teach more than just letters and numbers but that. Apple when a parent gets involved she says it can be highly educational. You're not against fruit ninja and Angry Birds and the other popular apps that are out there you're talking about should check -- You're talking about angles and -- -- We use descriptive language and -- plain Angry Birds is physics lesson. Angry Birds is his class profession. Back in New Jersey deprived of for electronics nine year old DeVon has learned important fashion crafts. What did it -- you realize I -- -- time to do that the late in the morning stay up yeah. But all that goes out the window as soon as the girls are reunited with their digital devices slowly past so would you recommend it's going iPad free -- -- whilst. It's the amount of time until I kids that the -- and anything you know how much on their watch TV outlets on the ends in the finances and limit its. If you're -- that eat your child is the one who's never looks up and -- constantly glued to it -- that's not a good thing regardless if the continue to have. Great social skills with other friends and they're still doing the play -- and they're still waiting outside and they're still. Playing well with each other I think than anything in moderation. Turns out -- and -- like any other media for kids parental discretion. You. Up for Nightline and juju Chang and teachers.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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