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General NewsPut the baby laptop away!

May 1, 2016

A study published recently in JAMA Pediatrics, led by Dr. Anna V. Sosa, a professor at Northern Arizona University, had some surprising information for parents.  Electronic toys are less effective than traditional toys in the language development of children.

This news is important for parents of young children because critical connections for language development in the brain occur in the first 5 years. According to the Center on the Developing Child, “…the brain creates 700 new neural connections every second” in the first three years of life. Sensory pathways for hearing, vision, and touch are developing by 3 months, language at 8 months, and higher cognitive functions at 3 years old. Early play experiences strongly effect language development.

Dr. Sosa’s research found that electronic toys like baby laptops, cellphones, or talking toys replaced too much of the language interaction between parents and children. For example, parents only spoke to their children on average of 40 words per minute with electronic toys.

By contrast, the number of words between parents and children increased to 56 words per minute with traditional toys, such as blocks, dolls or board games and to 67 words per minute with books. Traditional toys and books provide meaningful opportunities for language development in children through imaginary play, asking and answering questions or problem solving with their parents.

Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a psychology professor at Temple University, said, “A toy should be 10 percent toy and 90 percent child, and with a lot of these electronic toys, the toy takes over 90 percent and the child just fills in the blank.”

Developed by Rachel Kim

Published May 2016

Comments (3)


  1. Azusa Norimatsu says:

    I enjoyed reading this article.
    I thought electronic toys were more effective than traditional toys because I thought electronic ones can give more information to children. But actually it’s opposite. This information is really interesting.
    I should give traditional toys to my kid.
    Thank you.

  2. Ryoko Takahashi says:

    I like to give traditional toys for children. But I was supervised traditional toys are more effective than electric toys. Now, there are many electric goods and Internet games. Children is very good to use computer than our generation. But, like reading book is very good to think their imagination.

  3. Grace says:

    It is very interesting story.
    I agree with it. I have a lot of issue with my son about electronic toys.
    I like to show this article to my son.

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