Parents should give their children iPads almost as soon as they are born, according to scientists.
New research by the University of London says iPads provided more sensory stimulation for babies than books do.
Annette Karmiloff-Smith, who is leading the research, says tablets should be part of a baby’s world from birth, adding: “They learn so fast on tablets. It is shocking how fast they learn – even faster than adults – to do things like scroll up and down text.
“Books are static. When you observe babies with books, all they are interested in is the sound of the pages turning. Their visual system at that age is attracted by movement.
“That is why tablets, which have moving pictures and sound, are very good.”
Professor Karmiloff-Smith believes children who are given the computers will show better signs of development, even if it not in a ‘conventional sense’. She said: “They might put a corner in their mouth. They will then explore it physically, but then they will use it to do things.
“Everything we know about child development tells us that tablet computers should not be banned for babies and toddlers.”
Neurologist Baroness Susan Greenfield, however, has previously warned that children’s exposure to computer screens and games could ‘damage the brain’, causing a form of ‘temporary dementia’.
The 10 best tablets
The 10 best tablets
1/10 Hudl 2
The best in the budget range, the Hudl comes in at only £129. But it’s not all cheap here, the tablet has an 8.3” screen, eight different choices of colours and a full HD screen. Ideal for catching up on TV and films, as well as doing all your everyday online admin. £129, tesco.com
2/10 iPad Mini 3
For those with small hands, or anyone who doesn’t like wielding a full-sized tablet, the Mini could be for you. The 7.9’’ ‘Retina’ screen is a major upgrade for the little Mini, so your kids can watch Dora the Explorer in a whole new way. Comes with Touch ID, too. £319, store.apple.com
3/10 iPad Air 2
Apple’s latest tablet might not be a huge upgrade compared to what we’re used to, but it’s still the fastest they’ve produced with their A8X chip. And it’s the thinnest, too, at a mere 6.1mm. They’ve also added Touch ID - their fingerprint recognition hardware - for added security. £399, store.apple.com
4/10 Sony Xperia Z3 Compact Tablet
Eight inches wide, 270g and waterproof to up to 1.5m? Yes, this is a particularly brilliant piece of kit. The new device from Sony is also the only tablet that can remote-play PS4 games over Wi-Fi. Plus, the battery can last for more than 12 hours. £329, sony.co.uk
5/10 Panasonic FZ-M1
This is the world’s first fanless, 7”, Windows 8.1 Pro fully-rugged tablet. It’s drop-, water- and dust-resistant and can operate in temperatures ranging from -10 to +50°C. It weighs 540g, and is 18mm thin. It also comes with a business-class price tag, however, so definitely only one for the mobile adventurer. £1946, uk.insight.com
6/10 Nexus 9
Google’s latest is brand new and available now. It has an 8.9” screen, the new Lollipop operating system – Google’s fastest yet ¬– as well as two front-facing speakers for great sound. The whopping battery means you can continuously play video for 9.5 hours. £319, play.google.com
7/10 Cintiq Companion
At £1500, this definitely isn’t a tablet for everyone but if you are feeling flush, it features a full Windows 8 system as well as a HD 13.3” screen, customizable controls that makes it ideal for professional illustrators. £1499.99 uk.shop.wacom.eu
8/10 Archos Helium 4G
At 430g the Helium, ironically, isn’t the lightest of the bunch. But it comes with 4G connectivity (though you will have to buy your own SIM) for under £200. This isn’t for everyone, but if you just want a barebones tablet for a family member then you won’t do badly with this. £199, archos.com/gb/
9/10 Samsung S Tab 10.5
Samsung’s latest borrows its design from the S5 phone, with a perforated back and a fingerprint sensor. The key boon here is performance, with 3GB of built-in RAM, a massive battery and only 6.6mm thin. Apple, watch out. £399, samsung.com
10/10 Amazon Fire HDX 7
Amazon’s tablet is still one of the best to watch TV on, especially if you have an Amazon Prime membership, which gets you access to hundreds of thousands of films and TV shows for free. £199, amazon.co.uk
She explained how connections in the brain can be ‘temporarily disabled’ by activities with a strong sensory content – literally ‘blowing the mind’.