Time magazine ran an article reporting on a recent study showing that children under the age of two have used smartphones and tablets. As the article notes, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly opposes exposing infants under the age of two to any mediated content, a position it first took many years ago as parents starting parking their kids in front of TV sets to keep them occupied.
As Reeves and Nass point out in their book, The Media Equation, we all–not just children–interpret media characters as if they were people. Even to an adult, our response to Donald Duck is as real as if it were your next door neighbor. Especially worth noting, however, is that children that young have not formed the cognitive ability to judge the content they are exposed to, they just soak it up.
This then has the capability to affect cognition later in life, inasmuch as memory is associative and to the degree that a present stimulus brings to mind–consciously or unconsciously–some earlier, infantile media experience accepted at full face value, this puts one at a rational disadvantage in terms of sorting out fact and fiction.
Here’s the link:
Will we some day see the “Infantile Smartphone Usage Defense” in some criminal trial to come?