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Experts: Giving Smartphones To Babies May Not Be A Smart Idea

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Using a smartphone seems like child's play to many kids and parents are even letting infants use their devices, but is it a smart idea?

As CBS2's Emily Smith reports, there may be some risks to raising "e-babies."

You may find it surprising that a growing number of babies under the age of 1 swipe away on the smartphones and tablets. That's according to a new pediatric survey a the Einstein Healthcare Network.

At just 11 months old, Elia Zuckerberg is one of those babies.

"She actually has her own iPad. She's opening the apps, pressing the home screen button, turning off her music," said mom Liz Zuckerberg.

It's easily accessible to Elia when she wants it, and she's had it since she was 5 months old.

"Like changing her diaper, the only thing that will get her refocused is giving her her iPad," said Zuckerberg.

As fun as it may be, experts warn the habit could harm a child's development.

"You might smile and then they might smile. They take cues from you and then they get that back," explained Jamie Howard with Child Mind Institute. "They learn the sort of joy of interacting with other humans, and that's missing with a mobile device."

And there's another potential issue.

"They've said that the blue light that's emitted from these devices can harm kids' eye sight," said Howard.

And while it's not a scientific study, the survey backs up a trend that children younger than ever are using smartphones.

Researchers found it surprising that one-third of babies surveyed use the devices. The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages the use of any smart device for children under the age of 2.

"I am a teacher, I've used specific iPad apps with kids for years now and I think there is a lot that can be very beneficial," Zuckerberg said. "Listen, she's not watching like reality TV on the iPad."

Zuckerberg said she knows it's probably not the best idea, but it's part of the modern world.

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