By: Andrew LimbergBy John Shumway

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) — Electronic tablets are a must-have gift for many adults and fast becoming a must-have for children as well.

There are tablets that are specifically designed for kids and they claim to be a tool for education. While this can be true, there are also problems that can come with getting a child a tablet.

Child and school psychologist Dr. John Carosso pointed out both the positives and negatives of that electronic tablet that you may have gotten your child for Christmas.

He says there are positive reasons for getting your child a tablet.

“Kids are going to have to learn how to navigate these devices and use them throughout their entire lives,” says Carosso. He also says that introducing an electronic tablet to a child early can be a good thing. It can also be educational.

But he notes that tablets can be used a right way and a wrong way.

A good way to use it would be to sit down with the child and use the tablet together.

“(It can) be an added benefit for the parents to actually be using these devices with their children and that can promote some interaction,” says Carosso.

The bad news is they can become babysitters.

“These devices have their downsides,” he says. “They are incredibly addictive. On top of that, you have a parent who’s busy and they need to get their things done and so it’s a perfect babysitter.”

The child can get mesmerized by the device and, “the next thing you know the child is spending hours online or playing these apps or playing these games.”

Once the child is addicted to the device it can be hard to take it away from them.

“You get tantrums, fussiness,” Carosso says, “(they) get completely obsessed with the device.”

How long should you let your child use the tablet?

Dr. Carosso says that every situation is different and so is every parent.

“Keeping it to a few 30 minute sessions a day would seem to be reasonable,” says Carosso. The key to a child using the tablet successfully is, “moderation and oversight.”

Listen to the KDKA Morning News with Larry Richert and John Shumway every weekday from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA.

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