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Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: Apptivity seat

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December 18, 2013 at 5:00 AM

Tech for tots: Not all bad — or good

Screenshot of the Apptivity Seat, as seen on the Fisher-Price website

Screenshot of the Apptivity Seat, as seen on the Fisher-Price website. The American Council of Pediatrics recommends no TV or video viewing for children under 2, saying the existing studies show it has no benefit and may hinder language development.

Digital media is changing so fast, developmental psychologists have a hard time keeping up with how it affects young children’s learning — especially as kids spend more and more time with screens.

Not much is known about how such media experiences affect infant brains, according to Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, director of the Infant and Child Lab at Temple University, who spoke on a recent online panel sponsored by Child Trends, a nonprofit research group.

What they do know: Done well, digital experiences can enhance children’s knowledge and skills. Done poorly, they can hurt.

So before you download yet another so-called educational app — or purchase an “Apptivity Seat,” a controversial new product that pairs an iPad holder with a newborn/toddler seat — here are a few points to consider:

Human beings, especially children, learn best by interacting with other people and the world around them, Hirsh-Pasek said. So a child sitting passively in front of a TV, tablet or other screen … not so good, even though the panelists, as parents themselves, understand that’s hard to avoid all together.


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