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Toddlers, Electronic Media, and Language Development

Zero to Three Journal

March 2013

By Lisa Guernsey 

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Electronic media -- whether child-oriented videos and games or background television -- is increasingly embedded in young children's lives, raising quesitons of its impact on children's language skills. New research presents a multi-textured picture of how different types of e-media -- depending on content, context, and a child's age -- can help and hurt. Research is mixed on whether children can learn words from video demonstrations alone before they are 2 years old. Between 2 and 3 years, more evidence emerges of the positive impact of video and interactive games for young children. Meanwhile, background television and adult-directed TV are associated with reduced language development starting from infancy.

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