Tablets and mobile devices are everywhere you look - including in the teensy hands of toddlers and babies, according to new research from The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Despite the AAP's firm guidelines discouraging media use in children under the age of two, a survey revealed that more than one-third of infants were using tech before they could walk and talk.
And by their first birthday, one in seven had access to at least an hour of screen time per day.
RELATED: Take A Tech Timeout With These Fun Ways To Unplug
The "Zero to Eight" Common Sense Media survey tracked media use in U.S. children aged between six months and four years old, predominantly from low-income or minority communities.
Out of the 370 parents involved, there was no shortage of access to media devices. The majority owned TVs, tablets and smartphones -- and babies were using them in frankly alarming numbers.
Before they even reached their first big milestone year, "52 percent had watched TV shows, 36 percent had touched or scrolled a screen, 24 percent had called someone, 15 percent used apps and 12 percent played video games."
By two, tots spent an increasing amount of time on devices. And by four, 38 percent were on devices for at least an hour a day.
The results shocked even the researchers.
"We didn't expect children were using the devices from the age of six months," said lead author Hilda Kabali, MD, a third-year resident in the Pediatrics Department at Einstein Healthcare Network. "Some children were on the screen for as long as 30 minutes."
How and when the devices were used was also telling. Tech is convenient. It's all too tempting to pass the smartphone to quell or busy your child when you're in a bind.
And in many cases, devices were being used as 'electronic babysitters,' allowing surveyed parents to get chores and errands done. Others handed over the device to calm a child, or even help put them to sleep.
Only 30 percent of the parents surveyed had discussed media use with their child's doctor, highlighting the need for more awareness. Many new parents take a pediatricians advice about feeding and sleep as gospel.
So it's high time media use formed part of that basic education.
T'is the seasons of ads missing the mark, and being told so in no uncertain terms by the social media savvy public. On the back of this awful ad being withdrawn, it's Bud Light's turn to feel the wrath of consumers who aren't at all down with its latest Up for Whatever slogan.
“The perfect beer for removing ‘no’ from your vocabulary for the night” was printed on the beer's American issue labels. Though it wasn't the beer manufacturer's intent, the message was attacked by Reddit users, who saw it as inadvertently promoting drunk driving or sexual assault.
“Because if she says Yes to a Bud Light, No isn’t in her vocabulary,” wrote one Redditor. “Bud Light, official sponsor of easy girls and date rape.”
And of course, Reddit being Reddit, users had fun with the controversy:
“Bill Cosby commemorative bottle?”
“Remember ‘No’ always means ‘No,’ especially if the question is: do you want a Bud Light?”
So even though the good people at Bud meant to send forth a lighthearted and message to "encourage spontaneous fun" they failed - big time - and not for the first time, either.
On St. Patrick's Day, one of Bud's subsidiaries tweeted under #UpForWhatever with a cheeky suggestion to pinch anyone who wasn't wearing green.
“It’s clear that this message missed the mark, and we regret it,” said Bud VP Alexander Lambrecht. “We would never condone disrespectful or irresponsible behaviour.”
Maybe it's high time to rethink that Up for Whatever campaign, and ensure that advertising peeps do their brainstorming sessions stone-cold sober.
Hey, Bud, No always means no, even when there are brews involved.
Back to the drawing board you go...
Please note: These bottles are not available or for sale in Canada. Labatt Canada says, "The Bud Light marketing campaign that has been referred to in your story is not a Labatt campaign, but a US campaign being conducted by Anheuser-Busch. There is no such campaign in Canada and the bottles in question are not available in Canada. Neither Labatt nor Anheuser-Busch would condone disrespectful or irresponsible behavior. Anheuser-Busch has apologized and stopped production of these labels. We take this issue very seriously."
Image Source: Yahoo/Reddit
While it's not uncommon for teachers to go on strike, it's less common for parents to do so. Yet a group of Ontario parents with more than 5,000 Facebook members has planned to pull its kids from school for a week to protest the new sex ed curriculum.
Members of "Parents & Students on strike: one week no school" have written a letter notifying the Ministry of Education of its plans to boycott public schools across the province the week of 4 May.
The new curriculum, the letter claims, is "age-inappropriate" and does not align with the principles and beliefs of thousands of families.
"We believe that it is our responsibility to teach these values to our children and have the greatest authority over how and when such sensitive topic are being introduced to our children," reads the letter.
Already parents and conservative groups have protested at Queen's Park. The controversial curriculum, which includes mentions of sexting, same-sex marriage and masturbation, saw its first update in 17 years.
RELATED: What You Need to Know About the New Sex Ed Curriculum
Although parents do hold the option for their children to "opt out" of sex ed, this is not enough for some parents who - according to Liberal Education Minister Liz Sandals - are either misinformed about the curriculum content or simply hold "homophobic beliefs."
Withdrawing your kids from class seems counter-intuitive and misguided. The kids will incur absences on their records and be forced to catch up on school work. Why punish children to prove a point?
Regardless of what views parents personally hold, withholding sexual education can only do their kids a disservice. Ignorance is not the answer. Sexting and same-sex marriage exists and will continue to exist, whether you agree with the practice or not. Learning about something is not the same as endorsing it.
Teachers are actually doing us (and our kids) a favour here. They are broaching a hard conversation. Why not seize the opportunity to continue that conversation, as it relates to your own core beliefs, at home?
Specifics about what kids will learn by grade under the new curriculum can be found in this slideshow.