You’ve either seen or experienced it–a toddler, a kindergarten, a kid who just learned how to tie his shoes freaking out because he can’t get to his iPad. We joke about it, laugh about how children work this complicated technology better than their adult counterparts.

But should they be able to do that?

This 2014 study claims that smart phones and tablets cant stunt a child’s verbal skills. That shouldn’t be surprising, considering any person using an iPad is probably staring quietly at a screen instead of talking to those around them–which is how verbal skills develop.

This is not the first time iPads and children have been questioned. For some time now, people have been worried that this technology will shorten attention spans of children even further (can you imagine?!) or impair their eyesight or, just in general, be harmful to their overall development.

While parenting differs from parent to parent, if your child is addicted to their smartphone or tablet (aka. on it constantly, has separation anxiety from the object when it’s not in the child’s hands.) it may be time to reconsider your child’s playtime. Sure, they may be quiet when playing on the device and be giving you some much needed space–but in the long run, the large amount of time they spend on that technology may harm them down the road. Let them play in the dirt and create imaginary worlds with their friends instead. They have their whole lives ahead of them to stare at a backlit screen and be obsessed with technology. Teach them first how to use their imagination.

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