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Old 8th March 2010, 11:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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More harm than good?

More harm than good?



A NEW study has shown that parents who push their children to watch educational television programmes to give them a head start may be causing more harm than good.

It said that children aged between 1 and 2 who are exposed to programmes that boast they can improve speech do not necessarily improve their vocabulary.

Instead, researchers warned that early exposure to such shows could hinder speech development, said a report in The Daily Telegraph.

They found that programmes aimed at 1- and 2-year-olds which boast it can teach children specific words had no effect on learning.

Dr Rebekah Richert from the University of California said: "Parents who are concerned about their children's poor language abilities may use baby DVDs to try to teach their children.

"Parents who use baby DVDs early may be less likely to engage in behaviours that promote language development or early viewing of baby DVDs may actually impair language development."

The study found that although the infants were exposed to up to two hours of viewing per day from five months old, programme makers claims could not be "substantiated".

It examined the vocabulary acquisition among 96 children age 12 to 24 months testing the infants on measures of vocabulary and general development.

Primary carers were quizzed about the children's development and previous exposure to educational media. Half of the children were then given an educational DVD to watch in their homes.

No evidence

When additional tests were conducted after six weeks, there was no evidence children learned the words specifically highlighted in the DVDs, and watching the DVDs was unrelated to measures of general language learning.

Children whose parents reported that they began watching infant DVDs at an early age scored lower on a test of vocabulary knowledge.

Dr Richert said: "We conclude by encouraging researchers, parents, practitioners and programmers to consider the variety of cognitive factors related to whether very young viewers should be expected to learn from a DVD, regardless of DVD intent.

"Many cognitive factors play a role in learning from screens at this age, including children's developing perceptual systems, their understanding of symbols and analogy and their developing abilities to discriminate how much they should trust different sources of information.

"Given that infant-directed media have become nearly ubiquitous aspects of many infants' lives, future research should continue to examine whether and how parents can use these DVDs effectively to teach their young children."

The research was published in the May edition of Archives of Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Source: http://news.asiaone.com/News/Educati...05-202744.html

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