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.More