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Which is Better – a Parent or a Screen?

December 31, 2015
Plain English Version

parents screensParents are better. At least, that is what some experts are saying. A study reports that using words and books are better forscreens parents the parent. They know from other studies that they are better for the child.

When parents played games like blocks with their kids or read to them, the kids talked more. They also tend to talk more when they hear words or follow signals from live people.

The bells and whistles of electronic games tend to keep parents out of the picture. Studies show electronic games result in parents staying on the sidelines. This is not good for parents or for children.

An expert said, “A toy should be 10 percent toy and 90 percent child. With a lot of these toys, the toy takes over 90 percent and the child just fills in the blanks.”

The study also showed that kids make more sounds when they are playing with something or talking to someone than when they are playing at a screen.

Here are some results from the study. On average while playing with their children, parents spoke 56 words per minute with traditional toys and 67 words per minute with books. They spoke about 40 words per minute while playing with their children with electronic toys.

A parent in the study said the findings were useful. “The busier I get, the easier it is to let him play with electronic toys. The study reminds me to kind of move away from that.”

Good advice after this season of gift giving.

Source: The New York Times December 23, 2015

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