ORLANDO, Fla. — Toys aren’t what they used to be. Gone are the days of building blocks and wooden trains.
Today’s toys actually talk to you and let you respond back. But research is showing these innovative devices may be affecting how parents interact with their babies.
In recent years, toys have gone high-tech! But a new study shows all those automated, interactive, and electronically-enhanced gadgets may not be as good for your baby’s development as the old-fashioned ones.
Scientists examined parents and their two-year-olds as they played with either a traditional shape sorter toy or one that was enhanced with sounds, songs, and voices they found parents used higher quality language and more spatial words, like “triangle” or “over,” when they played with traditional toys compared to electronic toys.
The parents who used electronic toys repeated the same phrases over and over, such as “push the button” and relied more on the toy to talk to their child.
Research shows high quality parent interaction plays a crucial role in supporting children’s learning and development. This study suggests non-electronic toys may be the better bet for babies.
Although the United States has less than four percent of the world’s children, it buys more than 40 percent of toys.
Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.