One in 5 toddlers have used smartphones: survey

Aug. 4, 2011 at 2:24 PM ET

BlogHer / Parenting /

Twenty percent of 2-year-olds are using smartphones even before they're likely to be potty-trained. (Well, admit it, parents: You know which is more difficult to teach.)

That's among Gen X moms — those born between 1965 and 1980. For Gen Y mothers — those born after 1980 — the percentage is even higher: 33 percent of their children have used a smartphone by age 2.

The findings are from a newly released survey by and the Parenting Group, the publisher of Parenting, Babytalk and

"The generational breakdown is striking," noted Ad Age, which published the findings. "Across the board, younger moms are passing technology along to their kids at an early age. This might not seem too surprising, given the Gen-Y embrace of technology. But when you consider that many of the youngest Gen-X moms are still having their first kids, whereas many millennials are putting off having kids, the adoption rates of technology start to blur."

"Millennials" is the term given to Gen Y, as the first generation of "digital natives" who are "always connected," according to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

That need to always be connected is reflected in those moms: "Smartphones and Internet access are her digital Swiss Army knife, and usage is addictive. Moms would much rather do without traditional media like TV," BlogHer and Parenting said of the survey, which was based on interviews with 1,038 moms, both Gen Y and X. Ninety percent of the women have children under age 10.

The survey also found that by age 4, 32 percent of kids used a smartphone, and 34 percent a cellphone of some kind; 36 percent, a video game system; 34 percent, a handheld gaming device; and 25 percent, an iPod.

Now, it's not known whether those toddlers are really using the smartphones to make calls or send emails — vs. playing games and watching videos on them. But odds are, they're using them for entertainment. Though we wouldn't be surprised if tot texting was the next big thing. "Mmy brg Grbrs, dprs, pls!"

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