Internet users have long complained about “iPad Kids.” This refers to the idea of a child raised with unrestricted screen time, and as the Daily Dot has previously reported, it’s becoming a growing concern for teenagers and new parents alike.
In response to the backlash against iPad Kids, some parents have made the argument that they can raise their children however they’d like. While that may be true to a certain extent, several users have gone viral after alleging that raising your child in front of a screen may do more harm than good.
TikTok user and researcher Liv (@ratiliciousxx) is one of the most recent users to make the latter claim. In a video with over 1.2 million views as of Sunday, she says that in her work with infants, she can always tell which ones have been raised with screens and which ones have not.
“I work with literal infants, starting at 3 months to 3 years old…And let me tell you, every single time an iPad kid comes in, us, the researchers, we know. It doesn’t take very long to tell,” she explains. “There is a big difference between babies who are exposed to screens 24/7 and babies who are not, and you can tell within like the first 10 minutes of meeting a baby.”
If a child who is used to screen time has their screen time restricted, Liv says, it can cause chaos.
“At one point, we give the parent an iPad, and if the baby cannot have that iPad, all hell breaks loose,” she explains. “It is, like, the end of the world. Like, I’ve seen babies who are 8 to 10 months old, who have zero interest in like actual baby toys, but freak out when they see the iPad. And it’s really concerning.”
@ratiliciousxx If i ever have kids theyre getting minimal screen time, like im talking almost 0. I feel so bad for teachers too. #ipadbabies #childdevelopment ♬ original sound – liv
Liv followed up her video by clarifying what it means to be an “iPad Parent.” This phenomenon, she says, does not refer to parents who let their children watch an episode of Sesame Street. Instead, she says that the term refers to parents who mainly rely on devices to entertain and occupy their children.
@ratiliciousxx Replying to @´･ᴗ･` ♬ original sound – liv
In another video, Liv summarized some of the current research on the topic. While she admits there is more research to be done, Liv says that the research available at present should be enough to cause concern for parents choosing to raise their kids with unlimited screen time.
@ratiliciousxx Replying to @Jayden #greenscreen once again im NOT a professional, just a girly w a degree in cognitive neuroscience and a passion for child development 🙂 #ipadbaby #childdevelopment #neuroscience #brain ♬ original sound – liv
In the comments section, users largely agreed with Liv’s assessment.
“I used to be a primary school teacher and the difference in 5-7yo who used screens vs without was astronomical,” explained a commenter.
“I went on a flight recently and had the toddler in front of me scream for the full 6 hours because the iPad’s battery died,” recounted another.
“My 3yo was sick so I let him be on the iPad basically whenever he was awake because he was drowsy,” stated a third. “The difference in him for weeks after I was not prepared for.”
The Daily Dot reached out to Liv via Instagram direct message.
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*First Published: Jan 21, 2024, 10:00 am CST
Braden Bjella is a culture writer. His work can be found in Mixmag, Electronic Beats, Schon! magazine, and more.