Although the American Academy of Pediatrics has discouraged parents and caregivers from exposing infants and toddlers to screens, a new study in the journal Child Development suggests a potential exception: family video calls.
Georgetown University researchers found babies and toddlers displayed critical early-attention skills during video calls with family. The researchers tracked “joint visual attention,” the ability to follow someone else’s gaze to what they are looking at. It’s a key developmental milestone, and early strength in joint attention has been linked with language development, make-believe play, and understanding another person’s perspective.
The study was based on observations of the in-home video calls of 25 families with young children ages 6 months to 2 years. All the families used video calls frequently, at least once a month and often weekly.
A version of this article appeared in the February 07, 2018 edition of Education Week as Early Childhood