Electronic baby toys decrease quality of language
Watch out mums, electronic toys might not be the best solution for your child's learning development!
According to a study by JAMA Pediatrics, electronic baby toys for infants that produce lights, words and songs decreases quantity and quality of language as opposed to playing with books or traditional toys.
The controlled experiment involved 26 parent-infant pairs with children aged 10 to 16 months old. Researchers did not directly observe parent-infant play time because it was conducted in participants’ homes. Audio recording equipment was used to pick up sound.
Participants were given three sets of toys: electronic toys (a baby laptop, a talking farm and a baby cell phone); traditional toys (chunky wooden puzzle, shape-sorter and rubber blocks with pictures); and five board books with farm animal, shape or colour themes.
Electronic baby toys led to fewer conversational turns
Fewer adult words were used when children played with electronic toys. Overall, there were fewer back-and-forth verbal conversation, fewer parental responses and less production of content-specific words than when playing with traditional toys or books.
According to author Anna V. Sosa, Ph.D., of Northern Arizona University, there were largest and most consistent differences between electronic toys and books, followed by electronic toys and traditional toys.
The results indicate that children vocalised less while playing with electronic toys than with books, and that parents produced fewer words during play with traditional toys than while playing with books with infants.
Parents also used less content-specific words when playing with traditional toys with their infants than when playing with books.
Never underestimate the power of book reading
These results provide a basis for discouraging the purchase of electronic toys that are promoted as educational and are often quite expensive and adds to the large body of evidence supporting the potential benefits of book reading with very young children.
It was also demonstrated that playing with traditional toys may result in communicative interactions that are as rich as those that occur during book reading.
Quality parent-child play time extremely important
It is important to note that every child needs to be nurtured through quality time with their parents. Spending quality playtime together promotes a rich communicative interaction between parents and infants through the usage of traditional toys and book reading -- which ultimately facilitates language development tremendously.
News Source: Neuroscience News