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Researchers Need More Information on Youth and Mobile, Interactive Media

Researchers Need More Information on Youth and Mobile, Interactive Media

According to a review of existing studies in Pediatrics, more research is needed on the use of interactive media among young learners.

Mobile and interactive media offers a number of educational opportunities for students, but there isn't enough research on their impact, according a recent article on

“Mobile devices, because of their portability and interactive components, are introducing media into all aspects of children’s experience and deserve serious attention and research,” said Dr. Jenny Radesky and her colleagues from Boston Medical Center in the journal Pediatrics.

The new media addressed in the report, the article said, "differs from television, because mobile and interactive media include games, videos and educational apps."

“Recommendations for use by infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children are especially crucial, because effects of screen time are potentially more pronounced in this group,” the researchers said.

According to the article, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which publishes the journal Pediatrics, "recommends that television and other entertainment media should be avoided among children younger than age two years."

“A child's brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens,” said the AAP website.

The article said researchers said "some interactive media may be beneficial for young children" and pointed to one study which found "apps that operate like videophones are as effective as real-life interactions at teaching language to two-year-old children."

"Other research suggests some interactive apps may also improve literacy skills, but the accompanying sounds and visual effects may hurt their comprehension," said the authors. A balance between the two is needed to encourage learning."

The researchers also caution, the article said, that "while interactive and mobile media may help parents in the short term by distracting children, it may be detrimental in the long term because children need to learn to regulate their behavior. Giving children mobile and interactive media may also lead to fewer in-person interactions with other kids and displace activities that help build other needed skills."

“On the other hand, videophone apps may enhance interpersonal connections by allowing children to maintain face-to-face interactions with distant family members or during military deployment,” they said, according to the article. “Parents should be encouraged to try a game or app first, play it with the child, and ask the child about it afterward to see what he or she is learning,” they write. “Clinicians should strongly emphasize the benefits of parents and children using interactive media together."

Read the full story and see the full study

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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