Thursday, December 24, 2015

Toy talk

From The New York Times :

Baby laptops, baby cellphones, talking farms — these are the whirring, whiz-bang toys of the moment, many of them marketed as tools to encourage babies’ language skills.

But in the midst of the holiday season, a new study raises questions about whether such electronic playthings make it less likely that babies will engage in the verbal give-and-take with their parents that is so crucial to cognitive development.
Years ago, when Elaine was on the radio and I did the weekly grocery shopping, a produce clerk complimented me for talking all the time with my children — pointing things out, asking them questions, answering their questions. The clerk explained that he had noticed us over many visits. No doubt he saw all kinds of parents in that store.

The educational future that some envision — every child communing with a device — is not one I favor. Nothing beats talking with people. (Though I am curious about that farm.)

comments: 6

Geo-B said...

When my kids were little and I wanted to build up my daughter's vocabulary, I made up a game, in which I would ask them to name some common item I was thinking of, and I would name another when they answered. So I might say, name an animal that might be a pet, or name something we could have for lunch. Of course, they could never get it right. I might say, name a room in the house, and the kid would say, dining room. I would make big deal and say, oh, you were so close, it was kitchen. Instead of realizing it was stacked against them, or maybe they did, but they inexplicably loved it, often asked to play it, and in their 20s still bring it up. Of course, we also had silly answers, like what's the best thing to wear to the zoo? Your lunch.

Chris said...

Our daughter used to go out in the back yard and play with sticks and leaves when she was little, and she turned out fine. (We weren't utter misers and did also buy her actual toys, although not the electronic kind.)

But I did a double-take at your reference to "marketing." At first I thought you meant you were in charge of the promotion of the radio show; then I realized that you meant that you did what we would call the shopping. Is that a regional thing, I wonder?

Michael Leddy said...

George, I can imagine gleeful delirium in always having the wrong answer. It makes me think of what happens when we play Botticelli (aka Celebrity).

Chris, I was going for the deliberately dowdy.

Michael Leddy said...

Just changed it to shopping. Clarity trumps dowdy.

Chris said...

Oh no! I love that use of "marketing." It was just my East Coast bias: here somebody's always marketing something.

Michael Leddy said...

No, it’s just unnecessarily confusing, even if only for a moment. The back story: when Elaine did the classical programming on our college station (which has since abandoned classical music and jazz and everything else for “hits”), I’d do the big shop every Sunday afternoon. I loved it. “Hold hands, we’re in a parking lot.”

I just made it “grocery shopping,” which is probably what I should have written to begin with. :)