While smartphones have quickly become the easiest way for parents to distract their toddlers, a new study has found that parent interaction was still the best way to teach children and overuse of smartphones could instead affect their verbal skills. Researchers at Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York conducted the study to check whether smartphones, which has become the favorite ‘toy’ that parents give their children, was aiding or hurting their development. The researchers observed toddlers between 0 and 3 years of age from 65 families and found that on average, a child was 11 months when he or she first started using a touch screen device for an average of 36 minutes per day.
While ‘educational benefit’ was the favorite reasoning among 60 percent of the parents, the researchers did not find any evidence to support their claim. Instead they found that children who played non-educational games, such as Angry Birds or Fruit Ninja, had lower verbal scores than other children.
“It was striking to see that parents were substituting books and general baby toys for smartphones. Many parents did not seem to bring any other distraction for their children except the touch screen devices. 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”, lead researcher Dr Ruth Milanaik said.