A recent scientific study has revealed that using smartphones and tablets to pacify children may damage their social-emotional development.
Researchers at the Boston University Medical Center reviewed the many types of interactive media available today and raised important questions regarding their use as educational tools, as well as their potential detrimental role in stunting the development of important tools for self-regulation. Research shows that children younger than 30 months cannot learn from television and videos as well as they can from real-life interactions. While children who are preschool-age or older can benefit from interactive media such as electronic books and learn-to-read applications, which can help to teach vocabulary and reading comprehension, the use of these devices to distract children during mundane tasks might be detrimental to the social-emotional development of the child.
Heavy device use during young childhood could reportedly interfere with development of empathy, social and problem solving skills that are typically obtained by exploring, unstructured play and interacting with peers.
In the findings, which were published in the journal Pediatrics, the study’s authors recommend that parents try each application before allowing their children to access it. They also encourage parents to use these applications with their children, as using interactive media together enhances its educational value.