Are Electronic Toys Helping or Hurting Our Children’s Development?

Are Electronic Toys Helping or Hurting Our Children’s Development? | Baby Chick

Are Electronic Toys Helping or Hurting Our Children’s Development?

Is this an arcade or a baby nursery? I often wonder that when I walk into a baby’s space. Brightly colored plastic that lights up, talks, sings, beeps, and makes all sorts of noises is taking over. Electronic toys are everywhere, but are they really necessary? More importantly, are they helping or harming our children’s development?

Some very informative studies have recently been published and the findings might surprise you. Studies were conducted comparing electronic toys to more conventional toys such as blocks, puzzles and wooden tools and they found that adults were less responsive to children when the children were playing with electronic toys than other toys (Stein, 2016). The studies also showed less child vocalizations while the children play with electronic toys, up to 67 words per minute less to be exact (Stein, 2016). Why is this significant? Well, we know that early language development is critical to language and literacy skills later on, and the language a child has learned by 24 months is the greatest predictor of success in school and life in general.

The sad thing is that these electronic toys are marketed as “educational” and “developmental,” promising to help children learn important skills and reach developmental milestones, when actually, research is telling us that these toys do just the opposite. They impede learning and prevent positive language interactions between children and parents and care-givers. Sosa (2016) who performed a similar study and had the same findings warns that play with electronic toys results in not only a decrease in the quantity of language, but in the quality of language heard and spoken by children and in order to promote early language development, electronic toys should be strongly discouraged.

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So, what are we to do when well-meaning Aunt Betty buys our children electronic toys that promise to help them learn their ABC’s? Limit the time on these toys. Set a timer and allow only a few minutes per day, then counteract the use of these toys by reading your child a book. Ask questions while you read, engage them in the story, ask them how the story makes them feel. Surround your child with toys that encourage creativity and language and interactions such as blocks, crayons and coloring books, puppets, dress-up costumes, dolls, trucks, play tools, play kitchens, puzzles and books.

Let’s be honest, we don’t really want those beeping, chirping, talking toys in our house anyway, do we? Have you ever loaded the toy box too full and had a toy begin talking from the depths of the box when you least expect it, or step on a bleeping plastic cell phone in the middle of the night? Let’s try to replace the arcade with an environment that fosters language and communication from early on. It is never too early! You can begin talking to your baby while they are still in utero. Some studies show that babies recognize their mother’s voice just one day after birth. Take advantage of this by talking, reading, singing to your baby from the day they are born. Narrate everything you are doing, tell stories, read the newspaper out loud, read texts and emails out loud. Babies create their own vocabulary from their parent’s vocabulary. Every word you say to her is forming the foundation for her own language. Try not to limit positive interactions with electronic noise.

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References:
Sosa AV. Association of the Type of Toy Used During Play With the Quantity and Quality of Parent-Infant Communication. JAMA Pediatr. 2016;170(2):132–137. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.3753
Stein, M. T. (2016). Do electronic toys affect language development? NEJM Journal Watch.Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.philau.edu/10.1056/nejm-jw.NA40416
About the Author /

Dr. Aimee Ketchum is a pediatric occupational therapist and has been working in pediatrics for 20 years. Ketchum works in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at UPMC Pinnacle Hospital and lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with her husband and two daughters. Ketchum is also the owner/operator of Aimee’s Babies LLC, a child development company.

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I'm seriously needing some of these things tonight to start a new week. Hoping you mamas get some self care time too! 💕⁠
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Instagram post 18073051357163780 When it comes to clamping the cord, our mottos is "what's the rush?" The blood volume in the placenta and cord at the time of birth is BABY'S blood. It's simply mid-circulation in the placenta at the time of birth. It just makes sense to leave it be and let it finish its job.⁠
No, the blood won't drain out of baby and go backwards into the placenta.⁠
No, your baby is not more likely to get sick from jaundice.⁠
Yes, your baby will still be getting oxygen while they figure out breathing, especially important if they need resuscitation.⁠
Yes, your baby will have better iron levels for the first year of their life.⁠
Look at how thick and engorged this cord still is at 4 and 18 minutes after baby was born. Just imagine how much blood baby would have lost if the cord had been clamped immediately, or at 60 seconds, 90 seconds, or 3 minutes! The placenta was expelled immediately before the 18 minute photo was taken. The pulse in the cord could still be felt even AFTER THE PLACENTA HAD BEEN DELIVERED! The cord was finally clamped and cut more than an hour after birth at 73 minutes. ❤️⁠
📷: @lawrenrosephotography⁠
Informative post and words by @bundleborn⁠
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Instagram post 17990835490280335 I totally felt this way when I was pregnant. And kinda feel this way after all that turkey. 🤣🦃 Happy turkey day to all you expecting mamas!!⁠
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Here are some tips to combat isolation:⁠
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1️⃣ Get outside when possible.⁠
2️⃣ Video chat with friends/family.⁠
3️⃣ Join a virtual group.⁠
4️⃣ Invite someone to come over.⁠
5️⃣ Find a local mom's group.⁠
6️⃣ Listen to the radio or a podcast (it's interesting how this can make us feel connected with others)⁠
7️⃣ Run an errand--even grabbing a coffee via drive-thru can feel good.⁠
8️⃣ Get to know your neighbors.⁠
What would you add to the list?⁠
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Flying on a plane with your little one for the first time can be terrifying. Are they going to cry the whole time? How will they handle the airport, the turbulence and the landing? Well we have some tips that will help prepare you for your flight with your kids. Here's what to do to have a more enjoyable experience 😊 {Link in bio!}⁠
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