Paper Status Tracking


Ciaran Haughton, Mary Aiken, Carly Cheevers


RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre, RCSI Institute of Leadership, Dublin, Ireland


Technology is now ubiquitous with almost 3.2 billion people of the world’s current population online (International Telecommunications Union, 2015). Whilst technology offers opportunities for education and entertainment, its impact on vulnerable populations such as the developing infant requires specific, careful consideration. Fourteen percent of infants (aged 6 to 23 months) watch at least two hours of media per day and one third of children under 3 have a television (TV) in their bedroom (Zimmerman, Christakis, & Meltzoff, 2007a). Twenty-five percent of 3-year-olds go online daily (Bernstein & Levine, 2011) and 28% of 3 to 4-year-olds now use tablet computers (Ofcom, 2014). Children are growing up with a digital foundation, they are interacting with and immersed in cyberspace where they learn, entertain themselves and play. During the first three years of life, the brain creates some 700 new neural connections every second. Synapse formation for key developmental functions such as hearing, language and cognition peak during this time, creating a critical foundation for higher-level functions (Zero to Three, 2015). Very young children are becoming experts at using technology and are true digital natives. Yet what long-term effects will this early exposure have from a developmental perspective? Researchers are now questioning how interactive media may affect children both mentally and physically (American Academy of Paediatrics, 2011; Radesky, Schumacher, & Zuckerman, 2014). Screen time research has traditionally focused on the impact of TV on children (Linebarger & Walker, 2005). However, TV is a passive experience and results may not be applicable compared to highly interactive screen technology such as tablets and smartphones, thus the uniqueness of mobile technology needs to be considered. Experts in Canada, France, Australia, Japan, and South Korea have urged limits on children’s screen time and legislation has recently been introduced in Taiwan to limit children’s unhealthy use of electronic devices (Boseley, 2012; Locker, 2015; Tanimura, Okuma, & Kyoshima, 2007). Research and recommendations are urgently required regarding the impact of technology on infants and very young children, particularly as the effect of traditional and interactive screen time is potentially developmentally and cyberpsychologically significant in this age group.


infant development, screen time, technology, education, cyberpsychology

Cite this paper

Ciaran Haughton, Mary Aiken, & Carly Cheevers. (2015). Cyber Babies: The Impact of Emerging Technology on the Developing Infant. Psychology Research, 5(9), 504-518.


American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. (2011). Children and watching TV. Facts for Families, 54. Retrieved from

American Academy of Paediatrics. (2011, November 1). Media use by children younger than 2 years. Pediatrics, 128(5), 1040-1045.

Anderson, D. R., & Pempek, T. (2005). Television and very young children. American Behavioral Scientist, 48(5), 505-522.

Armstrong, G. B., & Greenberg, B. S. (1990). Background television as an inhibitor of cognitive processing. Human Communication Research, 16(3), 355-386.

Balbernie, R. (2013). The importance of secure attachment for infant mental health. Journal of Health Visiting, 1(4), 210-217.

Barr, R., Lauricella, A., Zack, E., & Calvert, S. L. (2010). Infant and early childhood exposure to adult-directed and child-directed relevision programming: Relations with cognitive skills at age four. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 56(1), 21-48.

Bernstein, L., & Levine, M. H. (2011). Preface. In A. L. Gutnick, M. Robb, L. Takeuchi, & J. Kotler (Eds.), Always connected: The new digital media habits of young children. New York: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop. Retrieved from and Digital Media.pdf

Bittman, M., Rutherford, L., Brown, J., & Unsworth, L. (2011). Digital natives? New and old media and children’s outcomes. Australian Journal of Education, 55(2), 161-175.

Blair, N. J., Thompson, J. M. D., Black, P. N., Becroft, D. M. O., Clark, P. M., Han, D. Y., … Mitchell, E. A. (2007). Risk factors for obesity in 7-year-old European children: The Auckland birthweight collaborative study. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 92(10), 866-871.

Boseley, S. (2012, October 9). Ban under-threes from watching television, says study. The Guardian. London. Retrieved from

Calamaro, C. J., Mason, T. B. A., & Ratcliffe, S. J. (2009). Adolescents living the 24/7 lifestyle: Effects of caffeine and technology on sleep duration and daytime functioning. Pediatrics, 123(6), e1005-1010.

Cespedes, E. M., Gillman, M. W., Kleinman, K., Rifas-Shiman, S. L., Redline, S., & Taveras, E. M. (2014). Television viewing, bedroom television, and sleep duration from infancy to mid-childhood. Pediatrics, 133(5), e1163-e1171.

Chiong, C., & Shuler, C. (2010). Learning: Is there an app for that? Investigations of young children’s usage and learning with mobile devices and apps. Investigations of young. New York. Retrieved from

Chonchaiya, W., & Pruksananonda, C. (2008). Television viewing associates with delayed language development. Acta Paediatrica, 97(7), 977-982.

Christakis, D. (2009). The effects of infant media usage: What do we know and what should we learn? Acta Paediatrica, 98(1), 8-16.

Christakis, D. A. (2014). Interactive media use at younger than the age of 2 years: Time to rethink the American Academy of Pediatrics guideline? JAMA Pediatrics, 168(5), 399-400.

Christakis, D. A., Ramirez, J. S. B., & Ramirez, J. M. (2012). Overstimulation of newborn mice leads to behavioral differences and deficits in cognitive performance. Scientific Reports, 2, 546.

Christakis, D. A., & Zimmerman, F. J. (2006). The elephant in the living room: Make television work for your kids. Rodale. Retrieved from

Christakis, D., Ebel, B., Rivara, F., & Zimmerman, F. (2004). Television, video, and computer game usage in children under 11 years of age. The Journal of Pediatrics, 145(5), 652-656.

Christakis, D., Zimmerman, F., DiGiuseppe, D., & McCarty, C. (2004). Early television exposure and subsequent attentional problems in children. Pediatrics, 113(4), 708-713.

Dennison, B., Erb, T., & Jenkins, P. (2002). Television viewing and television in bedroom associated with overweight risk among low-income preschool children. Pediatrics, 109(6). Retrieved from

Falbe, J., Davison, K. K., Franckle, R. L., Ganter, C., Gortmaker, S. L., Smith, L., … Taveras, E. M. (2015). Sleep duration, restfulness, and screens in the sleep environment. Pediatrics, 135, 1-9.

Fenson, L., Dale, P. S., Reznick, J. S., Thal, D., Bates, E., Hartung, J. P., … Reilly, J. S. (1993). The MacArthur communicative development inventories: User’s guide and technical manual. San Diego: Singular Publishing Group.

Fletcher, E. N., Whitaker, R. C., Marino, A. J., & Anderson, S. E. (2014). Screen time at home and school among low-income children attending head start. Child Indicators Research, 7(2), 421-436.

Garrison, M., & Christakis, D. (2005). A teacher in the living room: educational media for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Menlo Park, CA. Retrieved from

Garrison, M. M., Liekweg, K., & Christakis, D. A. (2011). Media use and child sleep: The impact of content, timing, and environment. Pediatrics, 128(1), 29-35.

Ginsburg, K. R. (2007). The importance of play in promoting healthy child development and maintaining strong parent-child bonds. Pediatrics, 119(1), 182-191.

Grøntved, A., & Hu, F. B. (2011). Television viewing and risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality: A meta-analysis. JAMA, 305(23), 2448-2455.

Guernsey, L. (2012). Interactive screen time for kids: Do educational iPad apps teach toddlers anything? Retrieved from

Harding, E. (2015). Headteacher said iPads and iPhones was impeding children’s speech. Retrieved from

Harrison, M., Burns, C., McGuinness, M., Heslin, J., & Murphy, N. (2006). Influence of a health education intervention on physical activity and screen time in primary school children: Switch Off—Get Active. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 9, 388-394. Retrieved from

Hart, B., & Risley, T. R. (1995). Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. Baltimore: Brookes.

He, M., Irwin, J. D., Sangster Bouck, L. M., Tucker, P., & Pollett, G. L. (2005). Screen-viewing behaviors among preschoolers parents’ perceptions. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 29(2), 120-125.

Higuchi, S., Motohashi, Y., Liu, Y., Ahara, M., & Kaneko, Y. (2003). Effects of VDT tasks with a bright display at night on melatonin, core temperature, heart rate, and sleepiness. Journal of Applied Physiology, 94(5), 1773-1776.

International Telecommunications Union. (2015). ICT facts and figures—The world in 2015. Retrieved from

Irwin, L. G., Siddiqi, A., & Hertzman, C. (2007). Early child development: A powerful equalizer (Final report). Geneva: University of British Columbia. Retrieved from

Jackson, D. M., Djafarian, K., Stewart, J., & Speakman, J. R. (2009). Increased television viewing is associated with elevated body fatness but not with lower total energy expenditure in children. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 89(4), 1031-1036.

Jago, R., Baranowski, T., Baranowski, J. C., Thompson, D., & Greaves, K. A. (2005). BMI from 3-6 y of age is predicted by TV viewing and physical activity, not diet. International Journal of Obesity (2005), 29(6), 557-564.

Kirkorian, H. L., Pempek, T. A., Murphy, L. A., Schmidt, M. E., & Anderson, D. R. (2009). The impact of background  television on parent-child interaction. Child Development, 80(5), 1350-1359.

Kubota, T., Uchiyama, M., Suzuki, H., Shibui, K., Kim, K., Tan, X., … Inoué, S. (2002). Effects of nocturnal bright light on saliva melatonin, core body temperature and sleep propensity rhythms in human subjects. Neuroscience Research, 42(2), 115-122.

Lapierre, M. A., Piotrowski, J. T., & Linebarger, D. L. (2012). Background television in the homes of US children. Pediatrics, 130(5), 839-846.

Lauricella, A. R., Pempek, T. A., Barr, R., & Calvert, S. L. (2010). Contingent computer interactions for young children’s object retrieval success. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 31(5), 362-369.

Lerner, C., & Barr, R. (2014). Screen sense: Setting the record straight research-based guidelines for screen use for children under 3 years old. Washington D.C.

Lewin, T. (2009). No einstein in your crib? Get a refund. New York Times. New York. Retrieved from

Lillard, A. S., Drell, M. B., Richey, E. M., Boguszewski, K., & Smith, E. D. (2015). Further examination of the immediate impact of television on children’s executive function. Developmental Psychology, 51(6), 792-805.

Linebarger, D. L., & Walker, D. (2005). Infants’ and toddlers television viewing and language outcomes. American Behavioral Scientist, 48(5), 624-645.

Locker, M. (2015). This place just made it illegal to give kids too much screen time. Retrieved from

Mendelsohn, A. L., Berkule, S. B., Tomopoulos, S., Tamis-LeMonda, C. S., Huberman, H. S., Alvir, J., & Dreyer, B. P.    (2008). Infant television and video exposure associated with limited parent-child verbal interactions in low socioeconomic status households. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 162(5), 411-417.

Mendelsohn, A. L., Brockmeyer, C. A., Dreyer, B. P., Fierman, A. H., Berkule-Silberman, S. B., & Tomopoulos, S. (2010). Do verbal interactions with infants during electronic media exposure mitigate adverse impacts on their language development as toddlers? Infant and Child Development, 19(6), 577-593.

Mistry, K. B., Minkovitz, C. S., Strobino, D. M., & Borzekowski, D. L. G. (2007). Children’s television exposure and behavioral and social outcomes at 5.5 years: Does timing of exposure matter? Pediatrics, 120(4), 762-769.

Moser, A., Zimmermann, L., Dickerson, K., Grenell, A., Barr, R., & Gerhardstein, P. (2015). They can interact, but can they learn? Toddlers’ transfer learning from touchscreens and television. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 137, 137-155.

Napier, C. (2013). How use of screen media affects the emotional development of infants. Primary Health Care, 24(2), 18-25. Retrieved from

Ofcom. (2013). Children and parents: Media use and attitudes report. Retrieved from

Ofcom. (2014). Children and parents: Media use and attitudes report. Retrieved from

Pagani, L. S., Fitzpatrick, C., Barnett, T. A., & Dubow, E. (2010). Prospective associations between early childhood television exposure and academic, psychosocial, and physical well-being by middle childhood. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 164(5), 425-431.

Parenting in the Age of Digital Technology: A National Survey. (2013). Chicago.

Parish-Morris, J., Mahajan, N., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Golinkoff, R. M., & Collins, M. F. (2013). Once upon a time: Parent-child dialogue and storybook reading in the electronic era. Mind, Brain, and Education, 7(3), 200-211.

Plowman, L., McPake, J., & Stephen, C. (2010). The technologisation of childhood? Young children and technology in the home. Children & Society, 24(1), 63-74. Retrieved from

Radesky, J., Miller, A. L., Rosenblum, K. L., Appugliese, D., Kaciroti, N., & Lumeng, J. C. (2015). Maternal mobile device use during a structured parent-child interaction task. Academic Pediatrics, 15(2), 238-244.

Radesky, J. S., Kistin, C. J., Zuckerman, B., Nitzberg, K., Gross, J., Kaplan-Sanoff, M., … Silverstein, M. (2014). Patterns of mobile device use by caregivers and children during meals in fast food restaurants. Pediatrics, 133(4), e843-849.

Radesky, J., Schumacher, J., & Zuckerman, B. (2014). Mobile and interactive media use by young children: The good, the bad, and the unknown. Pediatrics, 135(1), 1-3.

Raval, V., Goldberg, S., Atkinson, L., Benoit, D., Myhal, N., Poulton, L., & Zwiers, M. (2001). Maternal attachment, maternal responsiveness and infant attachment. Infant Behavior and Development, 24(3), 281-304.

Rideout, V. (2014). Learning at home: Families’ educational media use in America. New York. Retrieved from

Roberts, D. F., & Foehr, U. G. (2004). Kids and media in America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from

Schmidt, M. E., Pempek, T. A., Kirkorian, H. L., Lund, A. F., & Anderson, D. R. (2008). The effects of background television on the toy play behavior of very young children. Child Development, 79(4), 1137-1151.

Schmitt, K. L., & Anderson, D. R. (2002). Television and reality: Toddlers’ use of visual information from video to guide behavior. Media Psychology, 4(1), 51-76.

Shimpi, P. M., Gámez, P. B., Huttenlocher, J., & Vasilyeva, M. (2007). Syntactic priming in 3- and 4-year-old children: Evidence for abstract representations of transitive and dative forms. Developmental Psychology, 43(6), 1334-1346.

Shuler, C. (2012). iLearn II: An analysis of the education category on apple’s app store. New York. Retrieved from

Sigman, A. (2012). Time for a view on screen time. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 0(0), 1-8.

Smith, P., Cowie, H., & Blades, M. (2003). Understanding children’s development (4th ed.). Malden: Blackwell Publishing.

Subrahmanyam, K., Kraut, R. E., Greenfield, P. M., & Gross, E. F. (2000). The impact of home computer use on children’s activities. Children and Computer Technology, 10(2), 123-144.

Tandon, P. S., Zhou, C., Lozano, P., & Christakis, D. A. (2011). Preschoolers’ total daily screen time at home and by type of child care. The Journal of Pediatrics, 158(2), 297-300.

Tanimura, M., Okuma, K., & Kyoshima, K. (2007). Television viewing, reduced parental utterance, and delayed speech development in infants and young children. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 161(6), 618-619.

Teach Age Kids. (2012). The effect of screens on children’s eyes: Myopia and the need to get outdoors. Retrieved from

Thompson, D. A., & Christakis, D. A. (2005). The association between television viewing and irregular sleep schedules among children less than 3 years of age. Pediatrics, 116(4), 851-856.

Tisseron, S. (2009). Les dangers de la télé pour les bébés. Toulouse: Eres.

Tomopoulos, S., Dreyer, B. P., Berkule, S., Fierman, A. H., Brockmeyer, C., & Mendelsohn, A. L. (2010). Infant media exposure and toddler development. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 164(12), 1105-1111.

Tomopoulos, S., Valdez, P. T., Dreyer, B. P., Fierman, A. H., Berkule, S. B., Kuhn, M., & Mendelsohn, A. L. (2007). Is exposure to media intended for preschool children associated with less parent-child shared reading aloud and teaching activities? Ambulatory Pediatrics: The Official Journal of the Ambulatory Pediatric Association, 7(1), 18-24.

Touchette, E., Petit, D., Tremblay, R. E., & Montplaisir, J. Y. (2009). Risk factors and consequences of early childhood dyssomnias: New perspectives. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 13(5), 355-361.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2013). Healthy people 2020. Retrieved from

Vandewater, E., Bickham, D., Lee, J., Cummings, H., Wartella, E. A., & Rideout, V. J. (2005). When the television is always on: Heavy television exposure and young children’s development. American Behavioral Scientist, 48(5), 562-577.

Vandewater, E. A., Bickham, D. S., & Lee, J. H. (2006). Time well spent? Relating television use to children’s free-time activities. Pediatrics, 117(2), e181-191.

Vandewater, E. A., Rideout, V. J., Wartella, E. A., Huang, X., Lee, J. H., & Shim, M. (2007). Digital childhood: Electronic media and technology use among infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Pediatrics, 119(5), e1006-1015.

Zack, E. (2010). Infant transfer of learning across 2D/3D dimensions: A touch screen paradigm. Washington: Georgetown University. Retrieved from

Zeanah, C. H., Berlin, L. J., & Boris, N. W. (2011). Practitioner review: Clinical applications of attachment theory and research for infants and young children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 52(8), 819-833.

Zero to Eight. (2013). Zero to eight: Children’s media use in America. San Francisco.

Zero to Three. (2015). Putting infants and toddlers on the path to school readiness: An Agenda for the Administration and 113th Congress. Retrieved from

Zimmerman, F. J., & Christakis, D. A. (2005). Children’s television viewing and cognitive outcomes, 159(July), 619-625.

Zimmerman, F. J., & Christakis, D. A. (2007). Associations between content types of early media exposure and subsequent attentional problems. Pediatrics, 120(5), 986-992. Retrieved from

Zimmerman, F. J., Christakis, D. A., & Meltzoff, A. N. (2007a). Television and DVD/video viewing in children younger than 2 years. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 161(5), 473-479. Retrieved from

Zimmerman, F. J., Christakis, D. A., & Meltzoff, A. N. (2007b). Associations between media viewing and language development in children under age 2 years. The Journal of Pediatrics, 151(4), 364-368. Retrieved from

Zimmerman, F. J., Gilkerson, J., Richards, J. A., Christakis, D. A., Xu, D., Gray, S., & Yapanel, U. (2009). Teaching by listening: The importance of adult-child conversations to language development. Pediatrics, 124(1), 342-349.

About | Terms & Conditions | Issue | Privacy | Contact us
Coryright © 2015 David Publishing Company All rights reserved, 3 Germay Dr., Unit 4 #4651, Wilmington DE 19804
Tel: 1-323-984-7526, 323-410-1082; Fax: 1-323-984-7374, 323-908-0457 ,, Email: