Do young children learn anything from YouTube videos?

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In a new Acta Paediatrica study, children up to 2 years of age could be entertained and kept busy by their parents showing them YouTube clips on smartphones, but they did not learn anything from the videos.

For the study, 55 Indian children were visited at four ages: 6, 12, 18 and 24 months. Children were attracted to music at 6 months of age and were interested in watching the videos at 12 months. They could identify their parents in videos at 12 months and themselves by 24 months. They started touching the screen at 18 months and could press the buttons that appeared on the screen, but they did not understand their use.

"Young children are attracted to smartphones more than other forms of media and there is a need for more techno-behavioral studies on child- interaction," said lead author Savita Yadav, of the Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, in New Delhi.

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More information: Savita Yadav et al, Children aged 6-24 months like to watch YouTube videos but could not learn anything from them, Acta Paediatrica (2018). DOI: 10.1111/apa.14291
Journal information: Acta Paediatrica

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