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Even a two-year old can use iPads

gadgets Updated: Jun 20, 2015 11:44 IST

Can toddlers handle iPads? The question might puzzle you for a while but not if you have noticed YouTube videos of infants and toddlers using iPads.

A team of researchers from the University of Iowa in the US set out to study more than 200 YouTube videos to see how toddlers deal with technology.

"By age two, 90% of the children in the videos had a moderate ability to use a tablet," said Juan Pablo Hourcade, associate professor of computer science in the University of Iowa and lead author of the study, outlined in the proceedings of the CHI 2015 conference.

"Just over 50% of 12 to 17-month-old children in the videos had a moderate ability," said the authors.

The researchers defined "moderate ability" as needing help from an adult to access apps, but being able to use them while displaying some difficulty with basic interactions.

"On the other hand, we know that infants and toddlers are using iPads and other devices because we've seen the videos recorded by their parents and surveys confirm it is happening. It has happened really quickly -- before we could get out and arrange for more conventional studies."

"One of the biggest differences we found is that when children turn one year old, they switch from using both hands and all their fingers to interact with the tablet to using an index finger -- which is what adults do."

The study may influence the development of apps that encourage interactive education for infants and toddlers.

"We may be able to use research on what makes certain children's educational television programmes beneficial as a starting point and go on from there," Hourcade concluded.