The study found that early touchscreen use, in particular, active scrolling, correlated with increased fine motor skills.
Researcher Tim J. Smith of Birbeck at the University of London set up an online survey for parents to answer questions about their children’s touchscreen use.
‘Researchers found a positive association in toddlers aged 19-36 months between the age that they started actively scrolling a touchscreen and the age that they were first able to stack blocks.
This included questions about whether the toddlers used touchscreens, when they first used one besides how often and how long they used them.
The survey also included specific questions to assess the development of the children, such as the age that they first stacked blocks — which indicates fine motor skills — or the age they first used two-word sentences — which indicates language development.
During the study, 715 families responded confirming that using touchscreen is extremely common in toddlers.
“The study showed that majority of toddlers had daily exposure to touchscreen devices, increasing from 51.22 percent in six to 11 months to 92.05 percent at 19-36 months,” Smith added.
In toddlers aged 19-36 months, the researchers found that the age that parents reported for their child’s first actively scrolling a touchscreen was positively associated with the age that they were first able to stack blocks, a measure of fine motor control.
The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, also stated that the current generation of toddlers was adapting rapidly to new technology.