Life Style

Toddlers who use touchscreens may be more distractible

ANI | January 26, 2021 04:14 PM
Representative image

Bath [England], January 26 (ANI): Toddlers with high daily touchscreen use are less able to resist distraction compared to toddlers with no or low touchscreen use - according to new research.

The research from Birkbeck, University of London, King's College London and University of Bath, was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

The research team say the findings are important for the growing debate around the role of screen time on toddlers' development especially given the increased levels of screen time seen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lead researcher Professor Tim Smith, from Birkbeck's Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, said: "The use of smartphones and tablets by babies and toddlers has accelerated rapidly in recent years. The first few years of life are critical for children to learn how to control their attention and ignore distraction, early skills that are known to be important for later academic achievement."

"There has been growing concern that toddler touchscreen use may negatively impact their developing attention but previously there was no empirical evidence to support this," added Smith.

To provide such evidence, Professor Smith's TABLET Project, at Birkbeck's Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, recruited 12-month-old infants who had different levels of touchscreen usage.

The study followed them over the next 2.5 years, bringing them into the lab three times, at 12 months, 18 months and 3.5 years. During each visit, the toddlers took part in computer tasks with an eye-tracker to measure their attention. Objects appeared in different screen locations. How quickly toddlers looked at the objects and how well they could ignore distracting objects were measured.

Professor Smith states: "We found that infants and toddlers with high touchscreen use were faster to look at objects when they appeared and were less able to ignore distracting objects compared to the low users."

Dr Ana Maria Portugal, main researcher on the project points out "We are currently unable to conclude that the touchscreen use caused the differences in attention as it could also be that children who are more distractible may be more attracted to the attention-grabbing features of touchscreen devices than those who are not."

Co-investigator Dr Rachael Bedford, from the Department of Psychology at University of Bath commented: "What we need to know next is how this pattern of increased looking to distracting objects on screens relates to attention in the real-world: is it a positive sign that the children have adapted to the multitasking demands of their complex everyday environment or does it relate to difficulties during tasks that require concentration?" (ANI)

Have something to say? Post your comment
Must Read
Night curfew in Jalandhar from Saturday amid surge in COVID-19 cases
Night curfew in Jalandhar from Saturday amid surge in COVID-19 cases
With promise of `Kaamyab & Khushal Punjab’, Capt Amarinder sets tone for future agenda
With promise of `Kaamyab & Khushal Punjab’, Capt Amarinder sets tone for future agenda
Punjab CM says Covid curbs to continue with measures to ensure minimum, if any, loss of livelihood
Punjab CM says Covid curbs to continue with measures to ensure minimum, if any, loss of livelihood
Punjab: Retired government officer promotes organic farming, direct marketing
Punjab: Retired government officer promotes organic farming, direct marketing
Agri-tech company Harvesting launches online commerce platform for farmers
Agri-tech company Harvesting launches online commerce platform for farmers
Fuel price hike: SAD MLAs ride to Punjab Assembly on bullock carts
Fuel price hike: SAD MLAs ride to Punjab Assembly on bullock carts
Fuel price hike results in increased sale of e-vehicles
Fuel price hike results in increased sale of e-vehicles
Cabinet gives approval to provide jobs to family members/heirs of 34 deceased of Amritsar rail tragedy
Cabinet gives approval to provide jobs to family members/heirs of 34 deceased of Amritsar rail tragedy
Punjab Cabinet okays to transfer 507 vacant posts of RMOs along with other para-medical and class-IV of the Subsidiary Health Centres from Rural Development to Health Department
Punjab Cabinet okays to transfer 507 vacant posts of RMOs along with other para-medical and class-IV of the Subsidiary Health Centres from Rural Development to Health Department
Hoshiarpur Police to get tough against violations of COVID Norms
Hoshiarpur Police to get tough against violations of COVID Norms
On PM-Kisan's 2nd anniversary, PM Modi says govt doing everything possible to double farmers' income
On PM-Kisan's 2nd anniversary, PM Modi says govt doing everything possible to double farmers' income
Punjab CM virtually launches Rs 1087 crores development projects under Smart City and AMRUT schemes
Punjab CM virtually launches Rs 1087 crores development projects under Smart City and AMRUT schemes