Tablets and other technologies are ushering in a new age of baby-sitting.
In tablet-owning households, seven out of every 10 children have used a tablet computer in Q4 of last year, according to a Nielsen survey of adults with children under 12. That is a nine-percent increase from the previous quarter.
Of those surveyed, 55 percent said they used tablets to entertain kids while traveling, while 41 percent used the devices to keep kids occupied while in restaurants.
Only 15 percent of children use the device to communicate with friends and family, making it the least common use for kids in tablet-owning homes.
Other technologies are being developed to help parents keep track of their kids.
Brick House Security developed a device that tracks children up to 150 feet away from the parent. The device, which is a small plastic teddy bear with a wireless receiver, is connected to a transmitter.
When the parent pushes the button on the transmitter, the receiver lets out a loud noise to help locate the child.
Some startups have started to innovate the human approach to baby-sitting.
SittingAround uses the Internet as a marketplace to vet, book and share baby-sitting and lets parents create a network of baby sitters, according to a statement from the company.
“As soon as you become a parent, finding a baby sitter completely controls your social calendar,” Erica Zidel, SittingAround founder and CEO, said in the statement. “Our goal at SittingAround is to end that. By revolutionizing the way parents both find and schedule sitters, we are going to remove the phrase 'if I can find a baby sitter' from the parenting experience.”
The site uses existing social networks, like Facebook and Linkedin, to build trust between parents and sitters. Sitters who post on the site also include their availability, which makes it easy for parents to find someone that fits their schedules.