New research by pediatricians from the Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York examined infants aged 0-3 years old who used touch-screen devices to determine if their use was of any educational benefit.
The study showed that children who played non-educational games using touch-screen devices had lower verbal scores upon testing.
The results also showed that although the majority of parents cited in the study believed their children received educational benefits by using smart phones, readers and tablets, there was no statistical difference in developmental scores in children who played educational games versus non-educational games. "We have observed in our neonatal clinic that the number one "toy" parents are giving their toddlers are smart phones," said Ruth Milanaik, DO, chief investigator of the study and an attending developmental and behavioral physician at the Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York in New Hyde Park. "It was striking to see that parents were substituting books and general baby toys for smart phones.
The study showed there was no significant difference in testing scores between children who used touch-screen devices and children without the same exposure to touch-screen devices. However, results indicated that children who play non-educational games (ie. Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, etc.) have a lower verbal score on developmental tests. "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" Dr. Milanaik said.