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article imageWhy parents should FaceTime with their children

By Tim Sandle     Jul 19, 2016 in Health
Parents who work, and other relatives, should spend time on FaceTime to talk with their toddlers. This helps the children to engage, learn and development. This is according to a new study.
The use of video media to allow absent parents to socially interact with their children has formed the basis of a psychological study conducted at Lafayette College, U.S. The focus was on children aged between one and two years ("toddlers") and the proprietary video service FaceTime. FaceTime is a videotelephony product developed by Apple Inc. FaceTime functions by connecting an iPhone 4; a fourth generation iPod Touch; or an iPad 2; or a computer with OS X, with another supported device.
Based on the study, initiated by Professor Lauren J. Myers, while FaceTime and other video services are increasingly being used as a means of communication from parents to children who are in pre-schools, how well do the children respond and does this form of regular contact help with learning and development?
The key question the researchers wanted to answer was whether there is a difference in putting a child in front of a television playing a video compared with an interactive chat. The answer is that interaction pays dividends.
This answer came about from an interactive study of children aged between one and two years old. Here children were divided into groups: 30 children experienced one week of real-time FaceTime conversations and 30 were shown pre-recorded videos. The focus of both was to teach the children words, actions and patterns.
The outcome was that children responded better to the interactive video and learnt better. Interaction was the key, such as clapping when the parent via the video link clapped. However, learning was more effective when the children directly communicated with the on-screen person, and where the person responded back.
In terms of age, 17 months was the point from which children most benefited from the video interaction. From this point the toddlers appear to understand who the person is on the screen and they are able to meaningfully communicate.
On social media the effects of the study appear to have been confirmed. Library Media Specialist, Mrs. Boudreau @MrsBoudreau), tweeted: "Yes. My toddler is engaged &actively interacts w/FaceTime. Applies to Skypes/global collab vs vids for Ss?" Plus teacher Larry Ferlazzo (@Larryferlazzo) messaged that the "study of toddlers sheds light on value of Facetime video chat as meaningful interaction."
However, not everyone saw the value. Koalasson (@travelerkoala), for example, has tweeted: "Why would some people FaceTime with a toddler? It's not like they understand what's going on."
The study has been published in the journal Developmental Science and it is titled “Baby FaceTime: can toddlers learn from online video chat?”
More about Facetime, kids and facetime, Toddlers, Kids, Learning
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