Kids Learning Apps and Educational Apps: Are they beneficial?
Preschoolers and young school-going children are notoriously difficult to control. They are bundles of energy. Very often we are clueless as to what we need to do to calm them down or just make them sit in one place. In moments like this, we often resort to options such as electronic devices, TV Educational Programs, Kids Learning Apps, Kids Learning Videos and Educational Apps & DVDs.
These are considered by parents as a good alternative to viewing serials or movies or songs since these apps make claim about enhancing learning outcomes and hastening developmental milestones.
Very often you hear parents say, “it is better that my kid spends time on an educational app than watching bollywood movies or songs” or “I heard from so and so that this learning app makes the kid smart” or “yes, but this is a kids learning app and not a computer game”. This kind of thinking might be completely wrong and possibly harmful for the child! Please read on to understand why.
It is no surprise therefore that many Indian parents are searching for online for the best educational apps and the top learning apps. But do these kids educational apps really work? Is there any evidence that these kids learning apps actually make the children smarter?
Specifically for children between the age group of say 2-5 Years, the answer (frustratingly! ) is that “It Depends”! Our research into this topic has unearthed some facts which we have presented below.
Explore: Child Development
If you have a toddler in the age group of 0 to 2 years, you might want to read this article, instead of scrolling down further. This article is largely from the point of view of children in the age group of 2-5 years.
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8 Key things to know before selecting Kids Learning and Educational Apps or Educational TV/DVD Programs
- For children in the age group of 3-5 Years, studies have shown that well-designed TV Programs can improve Social, Literacy and Cognitive Skills. American Academy of Pediatrics has given examples of (Sesame Workshop, PBS Children and Common Sense Media) what it considers as good quality programming. Unfortunately, there is no such list of programs or content creators for India provided to us by a credible association. We encourage you to do thorough research before choosing any such program or content creator.
- Barring a few, most of the kids learning and educational Apps that we find on our App Store or Play Stores have no proven evidence of any kind of positive learning outcomes in children.
- Kids Educational Apps and TV Programs cannot teach higher order thinking skills and other executive skills that are needed for children to do well in schools. These skills are still best taught by parents through unstructured and social situations. Therefore, as a parent, you should not view these programs or products as a substitute for yourself! There is no substituting human interface in early learning.
- Look for Kids Learning Apps or Programs that allow for the parent to also participate along with the child! The child gains a lot by the presence of a parent and by interacting with him/her during the learning process. Avoid programs or Apps which might limit the parent-child dialogue in any way.
- Avoid Educational Apps for Kindergarten children that are packed with too many visual and interactive features or advertisements to the point that they are distracting. These kinds of programs or apps have been shown to harm the child due to cognitive overload.
- Do not be under any pressure to introduce technology early to your children. Children learn to use them very easily and there is no need to rush into introducing them early on.
- Follow the expert advice on the limits of media exposure to children. We have already noted the harm that excessive exposure to media can cause in children in our earlier article. The article also shares information on expert guidelines of what is the right exposure for your child.
- Finally, try and develop a well-rounded plan for your child. A balanced lifestyle includes ample amount of time for playing, social interactions, reading, family as well as self. As a parent, you should also explore strictly no-electronic devices zones in your house (like a bedroom) and times in a day (like dinner time).
- There are many kids educational apps in the market that claim to enhance the learning ability of kindergarten children.
- Indian parents are increasingly using them as learning tools for their kindergarten children.
- However, most of these kids educational Apps have no proven evidence of any kind of positive learning outcomes in children and in fact can harm the child’s learning.
- Parents should carefully evaluate the international guidelines and facts listed in the blog before making their decisions.
Explore: Learning Resources
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Do you agree with experts that most educational apps are not useful? Please share the details of the educational apps that you use, if any.
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