Why Do Babies Love iPhones?


What appeal could an iPhone possibly have to babies? Teens like the social connection. Kids like the games. Heck, toddlers like the interactive flashing lights and sounds.

But that’s not why babies are into iPhones.

It’s not like the baby in this photo is checking her email or posting on Facebook. She’s not on level 2822 of Candy Crush. She’s not using the newest gadget as a status symbol.

She doesn’t care whether it’s the latest and greatest. She doesn’t know how expensive it was. She has no concept of data plans or processing speed. The damn thing doesn’t even have to be on.

And yet…SOMETHING gave that gizmo a sense of what researchers call “increased utility” in that baby’s mind.

She is ignoring all the more interactive, flashier toys in favor of a flat rectangle.


One reason…

Social learning.

She sees grown-ups staring at iPhones all day long. That’s why her brain automatically decides that they must be pretty interesting.

My book, TRUE Influence is a month old this week. In it, I teach all kinds of science-based influence techniques. But never underestimate the influence of your own example.

Social learning is deeply hard-wired into our brains. We take our cues from others – whether we care to admit it or not. Study after study has demonstrated the power of social influence even when it happens completely outside our conscious awareness.

Gandhi was right when he advised us to, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”

So as you kick off 2018, let your example be your influence. Remember, someone is ALWAYS watching.

2 thoughts on “Why Do Babies Love iPhones?

  1. Rod Thorell

    Yes! This is why my 13 month old granddaughter (who happens to live with us) gets some occasional TV time (about 4 hours total a week) and very limited technology time (less than an hour a week with a tablet on a baby app) and never more than 20-25 minutes at a session. If she comes into Papa’s office and the TV is on, it goes off.

    She needs to learn that interacting with other people is by far the most important thing you can do with your time.

    1. Tim David Post author

      Indeed. “Wait till eight” is the prevailing wisdom. Don’t give your kid their own device until they’re AT LEAST 8. When you do, use an app like “Moment” (or a kitchen timer, if that’s what you’ve got) to limit their screen time. My kids get two hours per day. Seems like a lot, but after tracking my own daily screen time, I think two hours is a good limit. We also have “no phone zones” (such as the dinner table), and “digital sabbaths” (days with zero screen time allowed), and screen time can also be used as a currency for discipline.


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