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Health risks and benefits of kids using tablets

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Tablets were among the most requested items on kids' Christmas lists, but with those gifts comes increased table use. Many parents are left wondering how much is safe.

As father, Pediatrician Dr. David Hill, MD FAA is naturally passionate about the topic, "At every age it is really a matter of what they're doing with the tablet. Is it to educate themselves, to learn, or are they using it to watch another movie?" he asked.

If the answer is to watch another movie, as Dr. Hill put it, there is cause for concern.

Dr. Hill explained, "Under age two, there's probably not a lot of good at least from TV and videos and it may actually delay language production."

However, on the flip side using a tablet in place of a traditional book or to do puzzles and other mind games can be very different. There isn't much data available yet about what that does for young children.

In any case, the educational market is a serious business for app producers. There are hundreds of educational apps available at your child's fingertips.

The best option for parents and little ones is to interact together while playing with a tablet. Dr. Hill also urges parents to set a rule: no tablets or electronic devices at the dinner table or near bedtime. Using them at the table prevents interaction with one another and using it at bedtime stimulates the brain, when the goal is really to wind down.

Limiting use to fewer than two hours a day is a great guideline too.

And remember, because this technology is still so new, there are still a lot of unknowns.

"There's really no data to show if there are any injuries or repetitive use problems associated with iPad use."

To find more media guidelines and search a list of suggested apps for kids, check out this website.

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