"It has been well-studied that increased television time decreases a child's development of language and social skills. Mobile media use similarly replaces the amount of time spent engaging in direct human-human interaction," said Jenny Radesky from the Boston University's School of Medicine in US.

As mobile devices are everywhere and children are using them more frequently at young ages, the authors questioned whether heavy device use during young childhood could interfere with development of empathy, social and problem solving skills that are typically obtained by exploring, unstructured play and interacting with peers.

"These devices also may replace the hands-on activities important for the development of sensorimotor and visual-motor skills, which are important for the learning and application of math and science," Radesky added.

It is well-known that infants and toddlers learn best through hands-on and face-to-face experiences.

While effects of interactive mobile devices remain largely unknown, the authors recommended that parents should try each application before allowing their children to access it.

Parents should use these applications with their children, as using interactive media together enhances its educational value, the researchers said in a commentary which 5appeared in the journal Pediatrics.

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