My 1 year-old toddler is addicted to the Roomba. First thing when I walk in the room, he points to the Roomba and wants me to pull it out. He'll push the button to start it, and will watch it indefinitely. Anything with a button, he'll start and stop, like the air conditioner, and an air filter in the bedroom, and toys with buttons. I let him, so long as it's safe.
It's such an extreme fixation it seems to resemble addiction to me. It seems to displace social connection sometimes. We've all heard about kids getting too much screen time, but is there such a thing as too much machine time? Buttons on machines (without screens) seem to have that same kind of hypnotic draw to this child. He's 19 months and this pattern has been going on for several months. I'm honestly not super concerned, because he doesn't just sit there like a zombie as kids do in front of TVs, but as I witness the disproportional fixation on such a limited, artificial interaction, I really do wonder what the impact on my child's psychological development is, and whether there is a point at which a dad like me should worry.