A child holds a newly released mobile phone called "Mo 1" which is produced by a Spanish toy brand during a news conference in Hong Kong Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008. The mobile phone "Mo 1" is designed exclusively for children, to meet the needs of children and their parents. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

London - When faced with a troublesome child, parents have traditionally turned to a toy or a dummy for help in restoring the peace.

But, in a sign of the times, they are increasingly reaching for a rather more high-tech solution - a smartphone.

More than one in four mothers admits to handing over a phone to a crying or bored tot when they need entertaining, research has found.

It is more common than putting a dummy in their mouth or giving them a soft toy or even a bottle, according to the study by retail chain Asda.

A range of games, puzzles and educational apps for younsters means smartphones are increasingly a mother’s best friend.

The poll found 27 percent of mothers give their phones to their child to keep them entertained. While 40 percent of these restrict playtime to ten minutes, 10 percent admit they let the child play with the mobile for anything up to two hours.

The poll of 1,650 mothers found 25 percent opt for a bottle of milk or other drink as the main way of entertain their child.

One in five (21 percent) resort to a soft toy and only nine percent use a dummy as a pacifier.

Louise Pearson, from Hertfordshire, who has two sons aged three and six, said: “My phone is the boys’ favourite toy. Sometimes the only way to keep them quiet is to hand it over.”

David Fletcher, from Asda, said: “No longer are mobile phones just a device for keeping in touch.

“To see them also used as an ‘electronic pacifier’ is no surprise with the variety of games available for children.” - Daily Mail