Forget nannies and pacifiers - this is what looks after children now

There are concerns babies are using iPads for prolonged periods

Forget nannies and pacifiers - this is what looks after children now

File photo

iPads and iPhones have become virtual nannies for children as young as two - and have become the new pacifiers, according to an expert in child psychology.

Early Childhood Ireland estimates that most children now spend around five hours a day in front of an animated screen.

Cyber psychologist Mary Aiken says will damage the ability of children to function as normal members of society - recommending that children under the age of two should have no screen time whatsoever.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has said that children under the age of two should have no screentime with devices such as these, as it can affect thier development.

"Parents are encouraged to establish a family home use plan for all media. Media influences on children and teenagers should be recognized by schools, policymakers, product advertisers, and entertainment producers", it says.

There is also a concern that parents are not communicating with young children enough, instead allowing them to use digital devices for prolonged periods.

"Bottles or dummies are shoved into babies' mouths to keep them quiet, and mobile phones or iPads into their hands as soon as they can hold them and play with the bright lights", British expert Jo Heywood said at a conference in London.