AUSTIN (KXAN) - Despite having a bit of a bad rap, technology may not always be the bad guy that takes over kids' minds and free time against their parents' wishes.
Austinite Tyson Zaugg and his family all use technology. He's not worried about his children using it to learn some basic cognitive skills, as long as it's not their primary playtime.
"Nowadays technology is very interactive," Zaugg said. "Parents still need to have person-to-person interaction, because their children depend on mom and dad talking with them."
A new parenting study out of Northwestern University finds today's tech-familiar moms and dads don't stress about their children's screen time.
"We truly are living in an age where media saturates family life just as it saturates our culture, and parents know how to cope with it," said Dr. Ellen Wartella with Northwestern University.
Wartella studied more than 2,000 parents with young children. More than half said they were not concerned about their kids' usage of media, because the adults are the ones in control.
The shift can also be attributed to parents being comfortable with technology in their household.
"We seem to have a generation of parents today who are able to use technology in the homes because they grew up with technology," Wartella said.
The study also found today's tech-savvy moms and dads don't rely on the tablets and televisions to stop their children from screaming. They were most likely to use toys, books or other activities to entertain restless children.
As to how much media little ones are paying attention to, researchers said children in 84 percent of families in the study spent anywhere from about 3 hours to 4 1/2 hours a day using screen media.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends less than two hours for kids starting at age 2.
Despite the benefits parents see in technology, some are still worried about a couple of things.
They said video games are more likely to have a negative effect on children than other media. In addition, parents are still concerned about new and old media keeping children on the couch and not out getting exercise.
Click here for the complete Northwestern University study.
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