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How gadgets influence children: a new study of Russian scientists

How gadgets influence children: a new study of Russian scientists

PR Newswire

MOSCOW, Nov. 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- On 17-19 November 2020, the first international online symposium in memory of the outstanding psychologist Lev Vygotsky took place supported by the University of Childhood Foundation. The event was attended by over 100 speakers and 5,500 listeners from 31 countries.

At the symposium, the results of a large-scale study on the influence of gadgets on the emotional development of children aged 5-6, and on the development of phonemic hearing and regulatory functions, were presented.

"Russian children aged 5-6 spend on average 20-40 hours a week with gadgets," said Ekaterina Rybakova, founder of the University of Childhood Foundation, co-founder of the Rybakov Foundation. - This was found out by the staff of the Faculty of Psychology of the Lomonosov Moscow State University, who conducted polls among 1000 preschoolers and their parents".

In one group, the emotional development was studied, and it turned out that it was significantly higher in kids who used gadgets less than one hour a day compared to those who exceeded this period. The latter also expressed more generalized anxiety, but were better at recognizing emotions by facial expression.

Another group underwent a phonemic hearing assessment - twice, with a break of one calendar year. In short term, passive screen time negatively affects the child's ability to process verbal information. Active screen time doesn't threaten the development of phonemic hearing. In the long term, all the children participating in the study matched their age characteristics.

Also, the groups of children who used gadgets daily, every other day, on weekends, and once a week were analyzed. The latter group had higher level of the regulatory functions development.

"It turned out to be higher also among those who use gadgets not for entertainment, but for other purposes - listening to music, drawing, as alarm clock, navigator, stopwatch etc., - said Rybakova. - As a mother of four, I believe that the main parameter is what content the children interact with, as it forms their cultural values and norms of behaviour. Therefore, the role of an adult in choosing both interesting and developing content is fundamentally important. Thus, the gadgets will help determine the zone of proximal development for a child, about which Vygotsky spoke."

The charitable foundation "University of Childhood" was founded by philanthropist Ekaterina Rybakova in order to unite and support those who develop child-centred preschool education.

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SOURCE University of Childhood Foundation

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