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Digital Childhood:. Electronic Media in Young Children’s Lives Elizabeth A. Vandewater Public Health and Environment Research Triangle Institute. Funding. Primary Funding: National Science Foundation (BCS-0623856 )

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Digital childhood l.jpg

Digital Childhood:

Electronic Media in Young Children’s Lives

Elizabeth A. Vandewater

Public Health and Environment

Research Triangle Institute


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Funding

Primary Funding:

National Science Foundation (BCS-0623856)

IRADS Collaborative Research: Influences of Digital Media on Very Young Children

Other Sources of Funding:

The Kaiser Family Foundation

Monitoring Young Children’s Technology Use

Brainy Baby Corporation

Video as a Teaching Tool for Infants and Toddlers

Disney Corporation

Infant Video Viewing and Language Development


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Young Children’s Media Landscape in the Millennium: 2000

  • Children use electronic media 2-5 hours daily

  • More time with television than any other single activity except sleep

  • Explosion of products marketed to the very young

    • Baby Einstein, Baby Mozart

    • Computer “Lapware”

    • Preschool Video Games

  • Yet, we knew relatively little about the impact of this use.

    • Vast majority of existing work focused on older children


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Rising Concerns

  • American Academy of Pediatrics (2001)

    • No screen time – children < 2

    • No more than 2 hours daily after that

    • Children’s bedrooms should be TV free

  • Recommendations based on scant empirical evidence


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Digital childhood: Electronic media use among infants, toddlers and preschoolers

Vandewater, E. A., Rideout, V., Wartella, E. A., Huang, X., Lee, J. H., & Shim, M. (2007). Pediatrics, 119, e1006-e1015


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Research Questions:

  • How much media do young children (0-6) use?

  • How much access to media do they have in the home?

  • How many young children fall within the American Academy of Pediatrics media-use guidelines?



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How much access to media do they have in the home?




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Conclusions guidelines?

  • Young children growing up in a media saturated environment

  • Media and technology part of the fabric of their daily lives

  • Few parents follow the AAP Guidelines

  • Consequences & Developmental Implications?


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Video as a Teaching Tool for Infants and Toddlers: guidelines?

Can Babies Learn from Commercially Available Video?


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Two Studies: guidelines?

  • Can infants and toddlers learn a novel shape from video?

    • Brainy Baby “Shapes & Colors”

  • Does viewing a language based infant video impact infant language development?

    • Baby Einstein “Baby Wordsworth: First words around the house”


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Study Design: guidelines?

  • Post-test only design

  • Novel shape – the crescent

  • Randomly assigned to one of two conditions:

    • Experimental (n = 32): 10 minutes with Brainy Baby’s Baby Shapes 1 DVD - lessons on circles, squares, rectangles, triangles and crescents

    • Control (n = 26): 10 minutes with the same DVD – lessons on crescents replaced with video of toys dancing

  • Community Sample

    • Austin, TX and surrounding areas

  • Descriptive Statistics

    • Age range 13 to 33 months – Mean age 21.95 Months. (SD = 5.21)

    • Total N = 58

    • 57% Boys, 43% Girls

    • Avg. Family Monthly Income = $ 6,208


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Study Design: guidelines?Procedure

  • Children watched the video at home

    • Parents were asked to show children the video a minimum of 5 times per week for a three week period

  • Children were brought to the lab for testing

    • Roughly 5 minute warm-up period

    • 3 minute refresher video clip from the research video

    • Identifying shapes for the experimenter by pointing them out in a picture book


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Major Findings guidelines?

  • Experimental group was 9 times more likely to identify the crescent than the control group

  • The same results hold for children who were 24 months or less

  • No difference between the groups on children’s ability to identify any other shapes




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The Effect of Video on Infant Word Learning months old

Assessing the educational impact of

Baby Einstein


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Background: months old

  • Virtually all infant videos claim to be “educational”

    • When asked how they know – “Children like it”

  • Current literature on the impact of video on language development is mixed:

    • Some have found that word learning from video is possible (Krcmar, Grela, & Lin, 2007; Linebarger & Walker, 2005)

    • Some have found no relationship (DeLoache et al., under review; Robb, Richert & Wartella., in press)

    • Still others have found negative relationships (Chonchaiya & Pruksananonda, 2008; Zimmerman et al., 2007)


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Our Question: months old

  • Given that only 30% of children under age of 2 follow AAP guidelines

  • Does viewing language based, commercially available infant video harm, not harm, or foster infant language development?

    • Harm - infants exposed to video should show fewer language gains over time

    • No harm - no difference in language gains over time in children exposed

    • Foster - infants exposed to video should show greater language gains over time


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Study Design months old:Condition

  • Randomly assigned to one of two conditions:

    • Experimental Group (n = 126): Mailed a Baby Wordsworth DVD and asked to show it to child at least 2 times a week for next 4 weeks.

    • Control Group (n = 131): Given instructions to keep child from being exposed to Baby Wordsworth DVD over next 12 weeks.


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Experimental Longitudinal Design months old:

  • Age range: 8 to 15 months at baseline (M=11.24, SD=2.28)

  • Sample drawn from online panel provided by Survey Sampling International (SSI)

  • Data collected via parental report on Web-based surveys

    • Descriptive Statistics

      • Baseline N = 453

      • Analysis N = 257 (completed all 3 waves; 56% retention rate)

      • 51% Boys, 48% Girls

      • 81% White, 7% Black, 2% Latino, 4% Pacific Islander, 6% Native American or Other


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Language Outcomes months old

  • Receptive and Expressive Language

    • Receptive – Words understood

    • Expressive – Words spoken

  • Communicative Development Inventory (CDI)

    • 89 words understood / spoken vocabulary checklist

  • DVD words understood/spoken

    • 10 words already included in CDI

      • ball, book, chair, couch, cup, home, lamp, kitchen, table, blanket

    • 11 words exclusively in DVD

      • bear, bed, bedroom, blocks, bowl, cat, puzzle, refrigerator, telephone, tree, window


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Major Findings months old

  • Children exposed to the video had a higher receptive vocabulary (words understood) at the end of the study

  • The two groups did not differ on expressive vocabulary (words spoken).

  • Main reason the experimental group scored higher on the CDI was because of the 10 words the CDI shared with DVD script.




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Mean Differences in TestingCDI Words Understood Over Time

Sig*

n.s.

n.s.

MANCOVA Results:

Time Main effect, Λ = .96, F (2, 238) = 4.01, p < .05

Time x Experiment interaction, Λ = .97, F (2, 238) = 2.81, p < .05


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Mean Differences in TestingDVD Words Understood Over Time

Sig*

n.s.

n.s.

MANCOVA Results:

Time Main effect, Λ = .97, F (2, 238) = 3.05, p < .05; Time x Experiment interaction, Λ = .97, F (2, 238) = 3.03, P < .05


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Conclusions Testing

  • Findings suggest that young children can learn from video, even children under the age of two

  • Content is key

  • Language Development – May take longer to become evident than existing studies have run


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Digital Childhood: Testing

Electronic Media in Young Children’s Lives

Elizabeth A. Vandewater

Public Health and Environment

Research Triangle Institute


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