A recent research by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that toddlers interact more with their parents when they read printed books as compared to E-Books. Though E-Books are the current hot cakes in the market, and are seeing a constant sales growth as they are a cheaper option, one should understand that E-Books typically kill the parent-kid interaction that otherwise is very engaging and comforting for children.
Dr. Tiffany Munzer, a fellow in Development Behavioral Pediatrics at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital says, “The print book is really the gold standard in eliciting positive interactions between parents and their children. Our goal with some of the kinds of findings in the study is not to make things harder for parents, but to help them focus on activities that spark interactions with their children where they feel that back-and-forth is really easy.”
She estimates that 30 percent of children read E-Books at least once a week. Dr. Munzer and colleagues studied 37 pairs of parents and their toddlers. Each pair was videotaped in a lab reading three different stories from the Little Critter series back-to-back. For each story, parents had a 5-minute reading time limit, so results couldn't be pegged to how long it took them to present the story. There were three book formats in total: an electronic tablet without enhanced effects, and a print book with illustrations. The number and types of interactions the families shared - things like parents asking toddlers questions, telling them what they’re seeing on the page, and encouraging them to point out objects during the storytelling, were then tallied.
Parents had the highest engagement with their toddlers in storytelling when they read print books. They also were able to get through more of the story in the five minutes if it was read aloud from a print book. Toddlers, too, made more statements with print books, and non-verbal signs of bonding were greater when print books were read.
When the parents read E-Books, they made more statements about how to use the tablet; for instance, how to swipe to the next page or where to push a button.
Why do print books work better for toddlers than E-Books?
Dr. Munzer feels the answer lies in the distractions built into e-books, like buttons to press, and its automated replacement of the variety of sounds and explanations that parents would otherwise provide themselves.
“The print book is a really beautiful object in which each parent and child interacts differently over the same print book,” said Dr. Munzer. “Parents know their children well and have to make it come alive for their child to create that magic.”
The research gave the following conclusion - “Parents and toddlers verbalized less with electronic books, and collaboration was lower. Future studies should examine specific aspects of tablet-book design that support parent-child interaction. Pediatricians may wish to continue promoting shared reading of print books, particularly for toddlers and younger children.”
Source: ABC News
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