At the tender age of 2, my toddler can say "iPhone," and navigate his way to YouTube to watch videos of garbage trucks, trains and catchy tunes.

Scary, huh?

Lots of my friends are dealing with the same phenomenon — toddlers who are fascinated by the bright lights and exciting trappings of a smartphone or tablet. Whether to allow your child to access a computer or handheld device is an important decision that parents must make together.

On one hand, children will be using these devices throughout their school careers and in their daily lives. Being introduced to them at early ages has distinct advantages. However, they can become highly addictive and when used as a babysitting device, carry many of the same dangers as too much television viewing.

Here are a few tips to make sure technology doesn't take over your child's life.

1. Put Limits on His Usage

This is obvious, but difficult to do. Set a limit and stick to it. If you feel comfortable allowing your child three videos a day, then that's all they get.

2. Put Limits on Your Usage

If your child sees you tweeting and updating your status on Facebook throughout the day, it shows them that the technology is okay to use at all times. Put the phone away while you're parenting. They won't miss it and neither will you.

3. Hide It

If your child keeps asking for the device and won't let it go, hide it. It might be the only way to break their habit.

4. Watch With Them

You wouldn't let your toddler run free outside, would you? Letting him or her loose on a smartphone carries many of the same dangers because of content they can watch on YouTube or online. Most toddlers aren't savvy enough to navigate to specific webpages, but they can click buttons and you never know what they'll find. When the phone or tablet comes out, pull up a seat and make sure the content is family friendly.

5. Watch Home Movies Instead

Chances are you shoot lots of video. Store them on your phone or device and let toddler watch to his heart's content. Take videos of things he or she likes: construction equipment, trains, animals, or garbage trucks. Every kid will love to watch themselves doing their favorite activities, from dancing and swimming to running and playing.

6. Block Certain Pages

Your device comes as open as a book. You must get up to speed on blocking certain webpages and making sure apps on your device are kid-friendly.

7. Find Educational Apps

These devices can bring a great deal of questionable content into your homes, but they can also function as a teacher in your home. Find apps that reinforce learning concepts. There are apps for reading, shapes, colors, and everything you can imagine. Many of them are free, and if you decide you don't like it, deleting it is a snap.

Like most things in life (and in parenting) deciding how to handle smartphones, tablets, and laptops boils down to balance — but a main ingredient is planning ahead and knowing what the devices can do so you can make an educated decision.