Children and technology themed site Moving To Learn has revealed recommendations from two pediatric associations that children under 12 should not be allowed to use handheld devices. This encompasses cell phones, tablets, and electronic games, which of course include devices like the 3DS, Vita, and Nvidia Shield.
The recommendations come from The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics, which held studies and revealed findings in 2001, 2010, and 2013. They cite studies that show early and prolonged use and exposure to handheld devices has adverse effects to growth and development.
Among the reasons they cite for limiting exposure are:
- they affect rapid brain growth
- they delay development
- there is a correlation between TV / game use and obesity (note: correlation does not mean causation, but it is noteworthy)
- they cause sleep deprivation
- prolonged use is implicated as a factor in mental illness
- violent media from these devices causes child agression
- they affects concentration and memory
- they are addictive
- there is a worry of radiation emission from wireless devices
- lastly, they determined that raising children to use technology is unsustainable
These are the recommended tech guidelines for technology use:
We may not agree with all the points raised in these guidelines (I certainly do), and it seems unlikely that all families would comply with them, but this is a significant sticking point for companies that make portable games and systems, obviously with Nintendo well in front.
The industry does work to educate consumers on child safety as a whole, particularly with ESRB. However, with how attention has expanded to tablets and smartphones, it would do game companies good to differentiate themselves and the effects their products have on children.