Without wanting to sound like a peevish old man, kids nowadays are surrounded by all kinds of electronic noisemakers. Electronic books and electronic bumblebees are considered to be great for your child’s education, but are they? According to a study, electronic toys can interfere with a child’s language skills.
The study, published in the JAMA journal of Pediatrics, wanted to assess how traditional toys and electronic toys help a child develop his language skills. Talking pandas or cell phones made for children may look great, but, as the study would point out, they don’t help your child much in terms of verbal communication.
In fact, the electronic gadgets, packed with flashy lights and loud noises, are capable of delaying your child’s language skills. Moreover, parents using electronic devices instead of books or simple conversation, have been found to deprive their children of the most basic communicational skills, a delicate process associated with the first steps of cognitive development.
The study stresses out that electronic toys can interfere with a child’s language skills, and that parents should reconsider more traditional approaches to child’s education, such as story books or plain conversation.
Moreover, the team of scientists has been able to demonstrate that children who often played with electronic toys will babble or vocalize less than children without such devices, thus delaying their language development
In order to see the connection between a child’s language skills and electronic devices, the team of scientists organized a group experiment. Over the course of 16 months, over 26 families with toddlers were asked to interact with their children. The scientists provided the parents with 3 different sets of toys, including electronic toys, traditional wooden toys, and several books.
All play sessions were recorded on tape in order to determine how electronic toys impact the child’s language skills. At the end of the experiment, the team of scientists have concluded that children who were given electronic devices would display a lower rate of interaction compared to the other children.
Determining the impact of electronic devices on children was an ample process, one which took into account several important factors such as the total number of words used by a parent, the child’s capacity to vocalize and even how the conversation unfolds.
After the experiment, the scientist drew their conclusion: electronic devices interfere with a child’s language skill. Their recommendation to all parents was to limits a child’s access to electronic devices and make him engage in lively conversations.