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Technology and Young People: A Roundup of Study Results

Three new studies out this morning weigh in on the effects—or lack of effects—of video or digital technology on society's youngest citizens.

In the most interesting study, (I think, anyway) a group of New Zealand researchers looked at survey data on thousands of teenagers in that country from two separate time periods—2004 and 1987-88. Over both periods, the researchers found that the more time students spent in front of a computer or television screen the less attached they felt to their parents. In the first wave of data, more television time was also linked to lower-quality peer relationships. Science Daily has the details.

In a second study reported in Science Daily, Iowa State University researcher Craig Anderson reviews 130 studies from around the world on how violent video game play affects young people's behavior. His conclusion is not surprising: Regardless of gender or nationality, young people who are exposed to violent video games are more likely to behave more aggressively, and be less caring, than those who are not. You can find the full study in the March issue of Psychological Bulletin.

The last study, published yesterday in the Archives of Adolescent & Pediatric Medicine, reports on whether toddlers who watched an educational DVD for six weeks improved their word learning. Researchers from the University of California, Riverside, studied 96 12- to 25-month-olds, half of whom watched the DVDs at home and half of whom did not. In the end, there were no real vocabulary differences between the two groups, except in cases where parents intervened to teach the words to their children.

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