In years past, parents would often quiet a crying child by giving him a toy or popping a pacifier in his mouth. But these days, it's more likely that fussy kid will wind up with mom's cell phone instead.

UK supermarket chain Asda recently did a survey that found 27 percent of mothers distract crying kids with a smartphone, while 25 percent use a bottle and 21 percent hand over soft toys. Pacifiers were used by just nine percent of the 1,600 moms surveyed.

And although the thousands of smartphone apps for kids include learning games and other educational activities, many experts worry about children having too much screen time. Nearly half of parents say they limit playtime with digital devices to just 10 minutes, but one in 10 admitted their kids sometimes play with their phones for two hours or more.

For what it's worth, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting a child’s combined time with TV, movies, video and computer games to no more than one to two hours a day. But noise-sensitive strangers probably won't mind if you bend those rules a bit if it'll help keep Junior quiet.

More From TSM Interactive