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Tech For Babies: Smarter Thinking or Impeding Brain Growth?

This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.

With the huge number of products available for young children today (think LeapFrog), there hasn't been much talk about whether giving your kids electronic learning aids is helping their mental growth or stunting it. To help parents with some of their buying decisions, a report released this week from the Kaiser Family Foundation, "A Teacher in the Living Room? Educational Media for Babies, Toddlers and Pre-schoolers" indicates there's no answer to this question as of yet. Thanks for nuffin.

"The market is expanding rapidly, with all kinds of brand-new product lines for little kids," said Vicky Rideout, vice president of the Kaiser Foundation. "But the research hasn't advanced much. There really isn't any outcomes-based research on these kinds of products and their effects on young children, and there doesn't seem to be any theoretical basis for saying that kids under 2 can learn from media."

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Well, that's encouraging. So if you're in the habit of dropping your baby in front of a video so you can take a quick shower, you may want to think again. Or just stay dirty. And here's a big surprise: Claire Lerner, a child-development expert at Zero to Three, a nonprofit advocacy group that includes information about brain development on its Web site, thinks being around other babies without technology is a better learning experience than any technology. Ya think, Claire? So, just a heads-up next time you hit the Toys "R" Us.

Does baby 'get' tech? [News.com]

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