FROM

My own iPad? Yeah, I’ve got that, say 42 percent of American kids

Smartphones and tablets are now ubiquitous playthings among young Americans. –Gerald Herbert/AP/file 2011

When the toddlers at Creative Playtime in Brookline used to play with the preschool’s box of toy phones, they’d take a phone, sit down, chatter to the imaginary person on the other end of the line, hang up, and then play with something else.

But in recent years, kids as young as 2 have begun walking around as they talk, phones scrunched between their tiny ears and shoulders, necks crooked. “They were multitasking,’’ said the program’s founder, Paula Gopin. “We had to put away the box. It was limiting play.’’

Common Sense Media, a San Francisco nonprofit that studies children’s relationship with technology, just released a survey showing an enormous spike in mobile media use by children 8 and under. And it shows what Gopin and her fellow teachers were already seeing: Mobile is having a big impact on the youngest members of society.

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