Is the iPad helping or harming children?

by Doug Drinkwater

August 11 2012

Child psychologist Dr Jordy Kaufman has decided to explore whether Apple's iPad helps or hinders children's brain development.

Kaufman is founder and director of the Australia-based Swinburne Baby Lab and says that the effects of the iPad on children’s brain development are still largely unknown at this point.

The psychologist has so far tested 46 children aged four to six, examining their attention and problem-solving skills after using both an iPad and real toys. Children are asked to solve problem using a wooden spoon, and are then asked to solve the same problem using an iPad app.

Other tests see the children participate in drawing, coloring and block building, both physically and on the iPad.

Kaufman’s preliminary results show that creative and calming activities on the iPad like painting are similar to the “real world” and reveal that these activities “do not seem to adversely affect children’s behaviour or attention in the short term”.

Studies on how tablets affect children have so far been few and far between, although a bunch of child psychologists did advise parents to monitor their child’s iPad usage earlier in the year.

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