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Electronic Toys May Hinder Baby Language Development

CARRIE KAHN, HOST:

And now a story about how you're failing as a parent. No, seriously, we offer the next item in the spirit of constructive criticism. A new study published in the online journal JAMA Pediatrics has found that electronic toys for infants - ones that produce light and songs and words, you know, the toys you just spent all that money on - well, they tend to decrease the quantity and quality of a child's language when compared with more traditional, virtuous toys like wooden puzzles and blocks.

In the study, researchers recorded parents in their homes with their children, ages 10 to 16 months. They discovered that when playing with electronic toys there was less verbal back-and-forth between parent and child than when using simple toys or books. The study concludes these results provide a basis for discouraging the purchase of electronic toys that are promoted as educational and are often quite expensive. And an extra bonus - the wooden blocks don't talk back to you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.