New study claims playing with tablet can hurt kids’ development

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- A new study shows that letting your youngster play games on a tablet could hurt their development.

There are a lot of great learning games online and it’s so easy to just give your child the tablet so you can have some peace and quiet. But it’s that silence that researchers say can really hurt your child’s language and social skill development.

Researchers at Northern Arizona University just published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association on this topic.

For a year and a half, they observed 26 parents with infants and had them spend at least 15 minutes a day together in play sessions with either a tablet, traditional toys such as Legos or dolls or books. What they discovered is those kids who played with the tablet had a lot less interaction with their parent.

Kids playing with tablets didn’t talk as much and neither did the parent and because of this, the child suffered with his or her language development compared to the parent who played with traditional toys or read books.

Researchers at K-State agree in early childhood, interaction between you and your child is essential for their development.

"We’re teaching children how to use the tablet but the information that’s on the tablet, the children aren’t really retaining," K State assistant professor Bradford Wiles said.

So while it might be tempting to give your child a tablet to keep them busy, researchers suggest you instead make frequent trips to the library, get some new books and read them to your young kids.

"Children learn from adults through play and through reading and shared activities, and so anything that you do that isolates them, that’s a detriment," Wiles added.