Parents may be the ones ponying up for tablet computers, but a study from Nielsen shows that in many cases, they’re not the only ones in their households that are getting use out of them.

Nielsen recent surveyed adults who owned a tablet and have children under the age 12 in their homes. They found that 70 percent of those surveyed said their children use the tablet computer.

What exactly are young people using the gadgets for? Of respondents who said their children use tablets, 77 percent said they use them to play downloadable games, while 57 percent said they use them for educational purposes.

It also appears that parents are sometimes using tablets as babysitting device. Fifty-five percent of those whose children use tablets said they use them for entertainment during travel, and 41 percent said they use them to keep busy at a restaurant or event.

Communication is a less common activity for kids on the tablet, with only 15 percent of children using tablets using them for this purpose.

The study’s findings are in line with previous reports that technology is becoming increasingly entrenched in children’s lives. There’s been an explosion in apps geared toward the elementary school crowd and even the diapered crowd (and many of these products contain content that some parents consider inappropriate). Beyond the app world, kids under 13 are signing up for Facebook, even though the social network’s rules forbid it.

Do you think it’s healthy for children to be using technology at such a young age? Tell us in the comments section.