But this overreliance on electronics to help impressionable toddlers regulate their emotions has the potential to cause behavioral problems as they grow, a new study determined.
In the study, a sample of 269 parent-toddler pairs were assessed on how the adults use electronics to regulate difficult emotions in their young children.
But caregivers are now defaulting to using electronics to distract young children when they are misbehaving or experiencing other strong emotions, both in public and at home.
"Parents will utilize media more to manage their children's difficult emotions, especially if the child has a difficult temperament," the authors said in paper.
They hypothesized that children who regulated their emotions with media more often would show more problematic media use and strong emotions when TV, phones or tablets were taken away.
And parents who reported using more media to regulate their child's difficult emotions also reported more problematic media behaviors in the children.
Coyne recommended more in-depth longitudinal research on this topic to better understand the implications of heavy media use in toddlers. »