Toddlers learn nothing from YouTube videos. New study finds that two-year-olds enjoy the commercials more than the videos (and seem engaged with musical clips) but do not learn anything from YouTube.

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21 Mar 2018 21:37 - +4092
Study was 55 kids in India over their first two years. They stated correlation between what they learned and what and how their parents got involved. 55 kids in one country is a very small study, further studies likely needed for this article to hold up.
21 Mar 2018 21:48 - +926
That title is really confusing. A youtube video can be literally anything, including the ads and musical clips that are mentioned.
21 Mar 2018 21:46 - +299
whats the difference between watching say - sesame street on Youtube vs a TV?
21 Mar 2018 22:24 - +172
I would like to refer people to this link posted as a source in the comments: That is the study the article talks about. It details a study of a mere 55 children, apparently all from 1 demographic. The study method involves observing the children's ability to interact with touch screens and to recognize people in videos. These children were aged up to 2 years old. A time when most kids can barely speak. The result was that while they learned how to use buttons, they did not seem to know what the buttons were for. They did, however, learn to recognize their parents on video. The result also notes that children PREFERRED to watch advertisements about toys, videos with music and dance, etc. Thats it. Thats the sum total of the results as shown by the summary of the study (check for yourself). As such, the conclusion of this study is too general, it implies that youtube videos are not useful for education. What it ACTUALLY shows is that kids under 2 years do not generally have the ability to understand the cause-effect relation between buttonpressing, and prefer videos with colors and music over videos without. In other words, the title of this post is misleading, and to some extent so is the article lit links to. It claims that youtube videos are useless as tools to develop your toddler's brain. It shows that the children do not develop their brain by watching random youtube videos. a thing that is implied in the article but not worded properly is that you CAN use youtube videos as a tool when you watch it together with your kid, but watching random videos of some guy playing Fortnite is not going to help your child. So neither the article or the study in any way rules out the usefulness of educational videos on youtube to older children. It simply rules out the usefulness of watching random videos for your <2 year-old child in their ability to learn, without you helping them. If you start helping them learning, the videos could still be a useful tool.
21 Mar 2018 20:56 - +112
21 Mar 2018 21:50 - +94
I'd like to see a bigger study. There are a ton of educational children's shows that can rival Sesame Street or Mr. Rogers anymore. I think the delivery mechanism (medium) doesn't matter. If that is really true, then kids don't learn from any TV shows.
21 Mar 2018 21:28 - +67
21 Mar 2018 21:50 - +56
There’s a freakonomics podcast about some researchers who said up a school in Chicago to look at how children learn pre school. It was interesting because one of the researchers in the podcast talked about how children interacting with a screen is so much worse for their development because the screen doesn’t react to their verbal and non verbal cues. This person suggested talking to your children and reacting as you would during a normal conversation was much more beneficial. Makes you wonder if AI could be used for at home educational programming.
21 Mar 2018 20:47 - +52
21 Mar 2018 21:57 - +35
21 Mar 2018 22:12 - +25
adults learn nothing from reddit, and spend much more time here :)
21 Mar 2018 21:59 - +22
While the article has links to actual studies, the article itself is a heavily editorialized pop-science news article, not science. I thought such "think pieces" were verboten here?
21 Mar 2018 21:21 - +21
Since it was all Indian children is it possibly a cultural thing?
21 Mar 2018 21:58 - +20
21 Mar 2018 20:47 - +19
21 Mar 2018 22:11 - +18
I’d like more data. My daughter definitely wants me to “put Peppa back on” as soon as YouTube breaks for a commercial.
21 Mar 2018 21:45 - +14
21 Mar 2018 22:03 - +7
Seems like a broad statement to say that they don't learn anything from Youtube, when I would assume that depends on what they are watching, and there's no real reason to think they couldn't learn something from certain YouTube videos more than others.
21 Mar 2018 21:43 - +6
21 Mar 2018 21:52 - +5
21 Mar 2018 22:01 - +4
21 Mar 2018 21:39 - +4
21 Mar 2018 22:45 - +2
The thing is that yes, parenting is never that easy. So please control somehow what they watch. Cause we can find tons of useful stuff there including something that can enhance development
21 Mar 2018 22:29 - +2
Remove this post, title is misleading and spreading false information.
21 Mar 2018 23:08 - +1
What about the effect on eyes?
21 Mar 2018 23:19 - +1
Narrow scope. Incredulous publisher. Poor correlation. Please remove this article.
21 Mar 2018 23:29 - +1
We realized recently that our daughter (2) knew almost all the letters in the alphabet, names of animals, and her body parts. YouTube. This study is shit.
21 Mar 2018 22:14 - +1
Welcome to /r/science! You may see more removed comments in this thread than you are used to seeing elsewhere on reddit. On /r/science we have strict comment rules designed to keep the discussion on topic and about the posted study and related research. This means that comments that attempt to confirm/deny the research with personal anecdotes, jokes, memes, or other off-topic or low-effort comments are likely to be removed. Because it can be frustrating to type out a comment only to have it removed or to come to a thread looking for discussion and see lots of removed comments, please take time to review our comment rules before posting. If you're looking for a place to have a more relaxed discussion of science-related breakthroughs and news, check out our sister subreddit /r/EverythingScience. Below is some text from the paper to help foster discussion about what the study might mean, and what it's limitations are. N.B., the full paper is behind a paywall, but you can read the abstract here: [Children aged 6-24 months like to watch YouTube videos but could not learn anything from them]( ---------------------------------------------- **Methods** This was a study of children born between December 2014 and May 2015 and living in New Delhi, India. The researchers recruited children using their professional and personal contacts, and they included the children of relatives, colleagues, neighbours and friends. We met the parents of the children when they were six months old and asked them whether they had used music on their smartphones to quieten their children down at that age. If they said yes then we explained the objectives of our study to the parents and included those children with the parents' verbal consent. There were no exclusion criteria. We visited the children four times over the next 18 months at their homes in the presence of at least one of their parents. We approached 88 parents, started the study with 62 children and completed it with 55 children (31 girls). We had to discontinue visiting seven children when it became difficult to get appointments with their parents. We did not encourage the parents to play music or videos to the children in any way at any stage of the study. The children belonged to upper‐class Indian families and had been exposed to smartphones along with other common household gadgets since birth. Their parents often lent them their smartphones with YouTube videos playing. On most occasions, the videos were of song and dance performances in the families' native language. Most of the videos featured multiple dancers. The songs were generally sung by multiple singers, with elaborate orchestra and chorus support. We performed five experiments on these children. *Experiment one* We tried to understand how the behaviour of the children towards YouTube videos changed over time. We visited the children when they were 6, 12, 18 and 24 months old at their homes in the presence of their parents. The same two observers visited all the children every time, and they observed each child for at least 10 minutes. They observed the children watching videos on YouTube without any intervention. *Experiment two* We tried to determine when the children learned to identify themselves and people they have met in real life in videos. Videos of the children, their relatives and, in some cases, family pets were recorded. These videos were uploaded to YouTube and shown to the children on a smartphone. Two types of videos were shown to the children. Some of the videos were recent, while the others were recorded six months previously. The children were asked to identify the people and the animals in the videos. The experiment was conducted when the children were 12, 18 and 24 months old. *Experiment three* We tried to determine the ability of the children to identify people who featured in the videos shown to them but were otherwise not known to them. The children were shown a video of a dance performance in which one dancer appeared prominently. The video was shown to the children repeatedly, and then they were asked to identify the same dancer in other videos. The experiment was conducted when the children were 18 and 24 months old. *Experiment four* We studied how easily the children interacted with smartphones using a custom designed video player app that looked similar to the YouTube app, but had five modes of operation. In mode one, the control buttons were displayed on the screen for the entire duration of the video. In mode two, the buttons appeared when the screen was touched and vanished if the screen was not touched for three seconds. Mode three was a variation of mode two, where the buttons reappeared at random positions every time the screen was touched. The buttons were half the size in mode four and the buttons appeared in random colours in mode five. A video was played using the app, and the children were allowed to interact with the app without any intervention. The experiment was conducted when the children were 18 and 24 months old. Experiment five We tried to find out what videos attracted the children more when they were 24 months old. We classified the YouTube videos that were typically shown to them into 10 categories: a dance by multiple dancers with melodical music, a dance by a single dancer with melodical music, singing without dancing, playing musical instruments without singing and dancing, movies and soap operas, cartoons, news and talk shows, commercial advertisements, videos showing toys and balloons and videos of animals, birds, butterflies and fishes. The children were shown five videos from each category. The number of times the children watched a video for one minute or more was noted. Statistics The behaviour of the children who participated in the study was analysed with frequency and descriptive statistics with 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) across different age categories. We used SPSS version 19 (IBM Corp, Armonk, NY, USA) to report the results. Possible interactions between age categories were evaluated, and differences were tested using the k‐proportion chi‐square test. Because experiment three and experiment four were only performed when the children were 18 and 24 months old, we used the Z‐test to find significant differences between the proportions at those ages. **Discussion** This study of children at four ages observed some interesting trends regarding the use of smartphones. How often and for how long children watched YouTube videos largely depended on their parents. Lauricella et al. 20 made similar observations. We found that the total amount of time the children spent watching YouTube videos typically varied from 0 to 15 minutes per week. The children liked to hold a smartphone in their hands and touch its screen and that the size and portability of a smartphone made it more attractive for children than a personal computer. However, the children were not able to control a smartphone at the age of two years. By the age of two years, children can identify characters that appear in the videos regularly shown to them. The characters may be historic, mythological, cartoon or fairytale characters or relatives they have never met. Children become more interested in characters if their photographs or stickers are displayed in their homes. However, children cannot remember the story of a fairytale, a cartoon or any other play even after seeing it several times. Two‐year‐old children are quite keen on watching advertisements for products they consume, such as baby food, chocolates, biscuits, toys, balloons and diapers. They are also more interested in real videos than in animated ones at this age. Children typically want to see a few favourite videos every time they get a smartphone. Two‐year‐old children cannot learn any new word from videos by their own. However, children can learn words that are used in videos if parents and other adults teach them those words later. Children can only learn a few new words at the age of two years and tend to forget them after a few hours unless they are regularly used by adults in their homes. Children who are used to watching YouTube videos may at time ask for videos to be played to them. However, that behaviour is hardly compulsive. Courage et al. 18 reported that children preferred to play with toys than watch videos. We also observed that children who watched YouTube videos also played with their toys and interacted normally in the physical world. In our opinion, watching YouTube videos does not provide any developmental benefits for children up to two years of age, but they are not harmful either.
21 Mar 2018 23:09 - +1
*"They preferred commercials that featured their favorite products to actual media"* My kid used to cry when a commercial interfered with ChuChuTV.

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