By Wirnida Aznam Child care experts warn letting young children use handheld devices like smartphones and tablets could be a risk to their brain development. Carrie Gibb, a qualified educator at Mulberry Tree Childcare Centre, Wembley, said children younger than three years old should not be allowed to play with handheld technology. “Children should be able to understand what they are doing before they are introduced to technology and they should only use it for less than one and a half hours a day,” she said.Kids using smartphones and tablets are a common sight today as they engage children so parents can do other activities. Carrie said parents switch on movies on their tablets to keep the children entertained while driving home from the childcare centre. However, one of her biggest concerns about the use of handheld devices are the negative impacts they have on children. “Honestly, obesity… they become inactive children… addiction to video games will also lead to anti-social behaviour among young children,” she said. Issues such as obesity could lead to serious health problems which include the risk of heart disease at a young age. Schools across Australia have engaged students in e-learning where classes are conducted through the use of technological devices such as tablets Matt Jones, a pre service teacher from ECU Mount Lawley, said there should not be any issues about handheld devices being used as an educational tool within classrooms. “I think it is perfectly reasonable for teachers to use handheld devices from the age of four as they are used as a motivational tool and a teaching activity,” he said. Mr Jones said educational applications add value to the classroom as they make learning more engaging and far outweigh potential problems.