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PORTLAND -- For many kids, mom's or dad s iPad has become their favorite toy. From Spongebob to Skeeball, there are hundreds of Apps aimed at entertaining children. Some Apps are even labeled educational. But are these Apps okay?

Apps can be interactive in a way television can t, said Nat Sims, a father and an App designer. Sims has developed some of the most popular Apps for kids, including Peekaboo Barn.

What I try to do is called the Breakfast Theory - there can be some computer time, and there can be some TV time, dare I say it. But there should also be some outdoor time and some sitting on lap, reading book time, he said.

Sims said he believes many Apps can provide open-ended, imaginative play. But parents need to choose wisely.

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Experts suggest that parents limit how much time their kids use Apps on an iPad or smart phone.

Really little children, I think they need to be interacting with real people in the real world around them. Giving them an App when they are two-years old to play with all day, to me is not productive, said author, speaker and parent Ellen Currey-Wilson.

There are dozens of Apps specifically designed for toddlers and even babies.

KGW asked a series of experts around the country and most agreed that Apps probably won t hurt babies, but they probably won t help either.

Research shows infants learn best through active play. Touching a screen doesn t count.

You re not really getting a whole lot from all that screen time. Not as much as they would be actually interacting with live people, said Dr. James Mol, a behavioral health expert from Providence Portland Medical Center.

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