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Touch screens may aid child development

Tuesday December 22nd, 2015

Two year olds find touch screen technology easy to play with - and this may offer opportunities, a paediatrician says today.

A study in Cork, Ireland, found that infants of this age can swipe, unlock and search for features.

The level of interaction is similar to play, according to a report in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Researchers got 82 sets of patients to fill in questionnaires about children, some of whom had just not reached their second birthday.

Some 87% of parents said their allowed their child to play with a touch screen device for an average of 15 minutes a day.

And 62% said they had downloaded apps for their children.

The study found that by the age of 25 months, children were able to identify and use specific touch screen features, according to their parents.

Researcher Dr Deirdre Murray, of Cork University Hospital, writes: “Interactive touch screen applications offer a level of engagement not previously experienced with other forms of media and are more akin to traditional play.

“This opens up the potential application of these devices for both assessment of development and early intervention in high risk children.”

She adds: “Many applications designed for infants and toddlers already exist, but there is no regulation of their quality, educational value, or safety. Some of the issues that arise with passive watching of television still apply.”

Touch-screen technology usage in toddlers Archives of Disease in Childhood 22 December 2015; doi 10.1136/archdischild-2015-309278 [abstract]

Tags: Child Health | Europe

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