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TMCNet:  Angry Birds 'holds toddlers back' Study

[May 04, 2014]

Angry Birds 'holds toddlers back' Study

(Daily Pakistan Today Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Playing games such as Angry Birds on a mobile can make toddlers slower at learning to talk, experts warn.

A study found that children under three who used smartphones and tablets scored lower in verbal tests than those who did not.

However, 60 per cent of the parents of the children in the study believed that playing on touchscreen devices helped with toddlers' learning and development.

Study author, Dr Ruth Milanaik from the Cohen Children's Medical Centre of New York, said: It was striking to see that parents were substituting books and general baby toys for smart phones.

Many parents did not seem to bring any other distraction for their children except the touch screen devices.' While 60 per cent of parents in the study said they believed using touch screen devices was beneficial for their children, the results showed that children playing non-educational games such as Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja actually scored lower in verbal tests than children who are not exposed to these games.


The research, due to be presented at the Paediatric Academic Societies in Vancouver on Saturday also found no significant difference' in testing scores between children who used educational games on touch-screen devices and children who didn't.

The survey found that the average age of the child when starting to use a touch-screen device was about 11 months and children used them for about 36 minutes daily.

Ninety-seven per cent of the families surveyed owned a touch screen device, however only 26 percent of them had any educational apps on their phones or tablets.

The centre conducting the research found that smart-phones were the toy most given to toddlers by their parents.

Dr Milanaik noted that the AmericanAcademy of Paediatrics 2011 guidelines warned against the use of electronic media by children younger than two.

However, following the surge in sales of tablets and smart phones in recent years, the organisation now states the devices can have pro-social effects', but it does not cover the effect of touch screens devices on children younger than three-years-old.

Dr Milanaik said: Technology can never replace a parent's interaction with his or her child.

Just talking to your child is the best way to encourage learning.'

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