Toddlers can learn as much playing with an iPad as traditional toys, says study

It has found those as young as two can master swiping, unlocking and searching

Toddlers, iPad, study, digital, toys, swiping, unlocking, University College Cork, Dr Deirdre Murray

Generic stock photo of a child using an Apple iPad tablet | Image: Peter Byrne / PA Wire/Press Association Images

New research claims toddlers can learn as much from playing with an iPad as from traditional toys.

A study based on 82 questionnaires found babies as young as 12 months regularly use touchscreen devices, and most toddlers can handle them competently.

It has found that children as young as two can master swiping, unlocking and searching for apps on a device.

Half of parents say their child can unlock the screen - while nine out of ten can swipe easily.

The study from University College Cork (UCC) has found that interactive games can teach toddlers about colours, letters and shapes - and should not be condemned along with mindless cartoons.

It found that 82% of parents had touchscreen devices - and 87% of those gave them to their toddlers on a regular basis.

This could range from between 15 to 30 minutes a day.

The average age of the toddlers with the ability to perform these three skills was 24 months, while the average age for identifying and using specific touch screen features was 25 months.

Almost three out of four parents felt their child was able to do this.

Overall, one in three of the toddlers could perform all four skills by the average of 29 months - and children as young as 12 months regularly used touch screens.

Dr Deirdre Murray led the research, and says it represents a big change in the way children play.