France’s television regulating agency’s recent announcement calling for Kids below three not to be allowed to watch TV or use tablets and smartphones may not sit well with many parents. In many instances, television and handheld gadgets have emerged as tools to distract or calm fussy tots.

The disadvantages to young children of smartphones and tablets, though, may outweigh the short-term advantages gained by many caretakers or parents. Carole Bienaime-Besse, who is at the helm of CSA which regulates the various electronic media in France, decried the overexposure of babies and small kids to digital devices.

She expressed concern that it may escalate into a public health issue.

Regulators at odds with show creators

Disallowing tykes the use of tablets, phone devices, and other screens, however, may not be realistic, opined the chief operating officer of the British public service broadcaster headquartered in London. Alice Webb, who heads BBC’s children’s arm, has on her Twitter page retweets like tips to give children a balanced digital diet and “how content delivered to children is becoming as important as the media itself.” She cited that the efforts of France’s tv regulator are admirable but probably unrealistic.

Digital has become pervasive, and modern households have gadgets. It would be difficult for tech-savvy parents to try to keep tots away from screens.

Show creators maintain bans simply do not work, more so with more and more parents using television and devices incessantly, and utilizing them as aids in babysitting their young kids.

Toddler distraction tools

Tech tools and mini laptops have gained widespread use in pacifying or amusing infants and toddler in many parts of the world.

In the US, the National Association for the Education of Young Children cited that the best way to appease distressed infants/tots would be through the comforting, reassuring presence of a Caring adult, not electronic toys. The organization added that technology can be appropriately used as an engaging tool to show toddlers images of their families and friends, animals and objects in the environment, or images of people and from other countries.

Most parents tend to overlook or shrug off reports that too much screen time may affect attention span and communication skills of young kids. With technology companies, app developers and retailers drumming up support for their gadgets through interactive tools and digital promotions, what are parents to do?

Recently, Toys “R” Us came out with over a dozen activity stations located around its various toy sections. When a customer enters with their devices, they will be greeted on the screen by a virtual image of company animal mascot. A customer pointing his mobile devices at a designated real-world sticker will generate an activity app on the screen that for the kids to enjoy.

Clearly, there is a need to limit screen time for very young kids, and to monitor what older tykes get to see. In the digital era, the widespread and prevailing practice in most households may not be for the best interests of young kids.