PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Do Toddler Apps Turn Young Brains To Mush?

photo
(Lentini/Flickr)"This child and his parents were seated at the table next to ours at a restaurant last evening... His parents worked hard to keep him occupied but nothing seemed to last beyond a minute or two until... the iPad appeared." (Dick Jensen/Flickr)(Alvin Smith/Flickr)"Colouring (digital)" (seventwentysk/Flickr)"The modern toddler iPad experience" (Wayan Vota/Flickr)"A must-have for any toddler traveling on the plane: An iPad." (chunkysalsa/Flickr)"Lex + iPad" (Alec Couros/Flickr)"Bea loves her iPad." (Alec Couros/Flickr)

The iPad has only been around three years and child development researchers call it a game changer. (See the slideshow of how babies and toddlers are using iPads, above.)

Apps that Hanna Rosin mentions

That’s because while parents could pocket their iPhones to hide them from their kids, they can’t do that as easily with the big and bright iPad.

Because they’re so attractive to children, one reviewer of children’s media calls the iPad and other tablet computers baby rattles on steroids.

And a growing number of interactive apps are being developed specifically for two- and three-year-olds.

But while the American Academy of Pediatrics has long discouraged passive media use, the academy hasn’t weighed in yet on interactive applications.

Research is limited, since apps are so new, but the debate is polarized.

Psychologist and author Aric Sigman told The Telegraph, “We risk infantilising the child’s mind by spoon-feeding it with strong audio-visual sensations.”

"This child and his parents were seated at the table next to ours at a restaurant last evening... His parents worked hard to keep him occupied but nothing seemed to last beyond a minute or two until... the iPad appeared." (Dick Jensen/Flickr)

“His parents worked hard to keep him occupied but nothing seemed to last beyond a minute or two until… the iPad appeared.” (Dick Jensen/Flickr)

He argued that computers should be banned from schools until children reach age nine.

Experts told the International Business Times that it might be beneficial for an adult to be present while the child is fixated on the screen.

One correspondent for The Atlantic magazine, Hanna Rosin, delves into the question over whether tablets and apps are good for toddlers, and concludes … maybe they’re not so bad after all.

Do you think interactive apps are good for toddlers? Let us know on Facebook.

Demo of the “Letter School” app:

Demo of the “Noodle Words” app:

Demo of “Toca Boca Hair Salon” app:

Demo of “Toca Boca Tea Party” app:

Guest:


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

July 28 146 Comments

Religious Groups Upset Over Boy Scouts’ Decision To Lift Ban On Gay Leaders

The chairman of Trail Life USA, a group that formed after the Boy Scouts opened its membership to gay youth, explains his position.

July 28 5 Comments

Shamir: From Country To Pop

The 20-year-old talks about his new album, his androgynous voice and how his disco-pop sound has evolved.

July 27 11 Comments

U.S. Wind Power On Course To Grow Big

The Department of Energy says wind power is poised to become one of the country's largest sources of energy.

July 27 2 Comments

Alaskans Still Cleaning Up Reminders Of Japan Tsunami

Crews are picking up and bagging tons of debris that were swept out to sea when the tsunami hit in 2011.