We know that too much screen time isn’t great for little kids, but it turns out not all screens and media are created equal.
New research suggests that video chat, like FaceTime, can actually help little ones learn from the people on the other end. For 2-year-old Charlotte, seeing her grandmother on video chat brightens her day.
Researchers studied 30 children ages 12 to 24 months who had video chat interaction six times over the course of one week. They asked the children to perform actions, taught them new words, and reacted to them in real time.
"There’s a lot of research to suggest that when children can interact with somebody over a screen that they process that differently than if they’re watching a prerecorded video or tv," says Dr. Lauren Myers with Lafayette College.
After a week of video-chatting, the toddlers preferred to play with the people on the other side of the screen. Toddlers who only watched pre-recorded videos did not form a relationship or learn new words with the partner was pre-recorded.
It's the interaction that is crucial for early learning.