SYDNEY, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- Australian researchers believe parents should worry less about the amount of time their young children spend in front of digital devices.
Scientists at Western Australia's Edith Cowan University said screen time, rather than being bad for children, could give them an advantage once they start their schooling.
Research lead Donnell Holloway said the so-called "app gap" was widening between young children based on their level of access.
"There tends to be an emerging trend where teachers are saying anecdotally that some younger children are coming to school more school ready," Holloway told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Wednesday.
"Because of apps they've been using at home, (they are better prepared in areas like literacy, numeracy, and the technical skills of using iPads and computers."
Tablets and smartphones had improved digital literacy at a younger age, she added.
"Before touch-screen technology, little children had great problems accessing a computer. Manipulating a mouse and keyboard was just not within reach."
"Now with touch-screen technology, everything is really accessible for them. So, this is where parents and children are heading to do some early learning."
Holloway urged parents not to stress too much about their children's screen time.
"They should relax and lose the guilt. Just think about the content the children are accessing more than a certain time limit," she said.
Her team found a range of attitudes among parents towards touch screens in early learning, including one family which rejected the use of all technology.
Shelley Hill from the Australian Parents Council said official guidelines zero screen time from birth to two years old, and less than one hour per day for children aged two to five were developed before the explosion in handheld digital devices and needed to be overhauled.
"They're very out of date and they do need to be reviewed, but in general, we advise parents to be very clear and watch what their children are doing," Hill said.