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Published on Dec 7, 2012
How much time are our youngest children spending in front of screens? Discussion on new studies that chronicle the increasing use of digital devices by young children -- and the resulting health effects. In a media-saturated society, how much time are our youngest children spending in front of their screens? Pediatricians have long warned of the risks of exposing young children to too much television and other electronic devices. A new study suggests such warnings are having little effect. The study, released today by Common Sense Media, surveyed nearly 1,400 parents. Among it findings, nearly half of all kids under age 2 watch televisions or DVDs for up to two hours daily. And one in three children under age 2 has a TV in his or her bedroom. The study also chronicles the increasing rise in the use of computers and interactive phones, tablets and other digital devices by children. For example, 12 percent of 2- to 4-year-olds use a computer every day. And half of all children under age 8 have access to a mobile device. At the same time, the study posits a growing new kind of digital divide, a so-called app gap of parents who download new media apps for their children to use. Only 14 percent of lower-income families have done so, compared to 47 percent of upper-income parents. The study comes just one week after the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a report saying television watching has no educational value for very young children. And we're joined now by representatives of the two groups putting out the new studies. James Steyer is founder and CEO of Common Sense Media, a nonpartisan organization focused on media use by children and families. And Dr. Ari Brown is a pediatrician in Austin, Texas, and lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics study on the effects of television on children. Jim Steyer, I will start with you. This is touted as the first big look at things since the rise of smartphones and tablets and other such devices. What do you see? Fill in the picture.