Children as young as 12 months regularly use touchscreen devices, with most toddlers handling them competently by the age of two, a report has claimed.
Yet scientists believe that interactive tablet use may not be bad for children, as it mimics traditional play.
Swiping, unlocking or searching on smartphones and tablets were skills possessed by the majority of children in the study, the BMJ said.
It suggested that instead of being unhealthy for a child, time on touchscreen devices is not dis-similar to traditional forms of play, due to its interactivity.
Focusing on toddlers aged between 12 months and three years, the small study found 87 per cent of parents let their child play with a smart device.
The report, in the Archives of Disease in Childhood, said: “Interactive touchscreen applications offer a level of engagement more akin to traditional play.
“This opens up the potential application of these devices for both assessment of development and early intervention in high-risk children.”