Is Learning Affected by Playing with Electronic Toys?
Parents try to spend quality time with their children and the ability to combine play time with learning is considered a great success. Sure, this is an age of technology; where there are so many devices and technology from which to choose. And it’s a Herculean task for most parents to select a device or technology that can be combined with learning, so as to strengthen the parent-children bond.
You Call This Progress?
We reckon that in many ways, playtime for children was far easier some decades ago. Toys were simpler then, and some of the best ones made of organic materials, such as wood and cotton. Playing with toys is an activity that helps the overall growth of the children and strengthen the parent-children bond. Nowadays, due to technological advancement, parents want devices like tablets, smartphones, laptops, etc., which are commonly part of the playtime routine. This can make children conversant with the devices very early in life. For, in the parents’ reasoning, being conversant with technology will benefit the kids in grade school.
Our reasoning is that electronics have little or no benefits and may well harm the kids (as radiation is associated with the devices).
An analysis from the Northern Arizona University’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders discovered that when compared to traditional toys (building blocks, Raggedy Ann dolls, etc.) and books, playing with electronic toys causes a decrease in the quality and quantity of language. Parents were therefore advised to use traditional toys and books to encourage language development in infants and young children. A total of 26 parents and babies (aged between 10 months and 1 year 4 months) were sampled for the experiment. The results and recommendations can be found in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics of last month.
Worthy of note is the fact that the controlled experiments were carried out in a natural environment (home-like) where parent–infant communications were observed when playing with three types of toys: traditional toys, electronic toys and books. It was observed that the type of toy has an effect on language usage. It was further observed that playing with electronic toy resulted in less conversation, reduced parental responses and smaller vocabulary use than was the case when playing with books and traditional toys.
Organic Toys and Well-Written Books – That’s the Ticket
When the use of books was checked against the use of traditional toys, the difference was insignificant. Parents were discovered to speak less when playing with traditional toys than when playing with books.
The conclusion therefore is: inasmuch as you want to include electronic toys in your playtime with your kids, you will achieve more with the use of books and traditional, childsafe toys. And toys made only of organic materials are the safest.