Story Time On Screens Isn’t All Bad For Young Children

With even toddlers bent over their iPads, children today are spending more time with screens than ever before.

While some experts are concerned that all this technology could negatively affect the developing brain, others say it’s not all bad. Research has shown that moderate screen time can carry significant educational benefits for young children, particularly when it comes to language and literacy.

“Children need a healthy balance,” Allison Henward, an early childhood media researcher from the University of Hawaii, wrote in The Conversation. “While we should be careful in flinging open the gates of media, we should be equally concerned about chaining them shut.”

Research has shown that watching educational shows like “Sesame Street” can improve children’s literacy and math skills, and computer-based educational programs are likely to have a similar effect. Such programs can boost letter recognition, listening comprehension and vocabulary. In particular, ebooks that couple spoken with printed words have been shown to help children expand their vocabulary.

These programs can also help children develop literacy specifically on digital platforms, where so much modern communication takes place.

“We think of literacy as only reading and writing printed words on a page of paper, but literacy is also when young children create stories and images online through blog, podcast, text message and videos,” Henward told The Huffington Post in an email.

She emphasizes that it’s not just from deliberately “educational” technologies that kids can learn. “Children pick up ideas from television … and use them to enhance literacy,” Henward wrote in The Conversation.

Studies by literacy researcher Karen Wohlwend have shown that young children, working in a group, can use digital puppetry apps to enhance their storytelling. The children in the study engaged in “coordinated storytelling, digital literacy learning, multimodal production, —> Read More