Researchers have found that toddlers are more comforted by their mothers via video chat than they are through audio alone.
And there’s no way for the baby to know the person can’t see them.”These sorts of challenges in logic and reasoning exist not just for babies but for older kids, too, all the way up to around the time a child is in second grade.
“Previous observational research has shown that children under 7 have trouble using phones—and babies and toddlers in particular have trouble with it,” Mc Clure said. There are a lot of cognitive skills that go into understanding what a disembodied voice represents.”More broadly, watching how babies handle interactions that are separated by a screen is one way to get at the question of how they process and understand their surroundings in general.
Even when the conversations are technologically flawless, the format itself disrupts many of the cues that help babies understand what’s going on in a face-to-face interaction.
“Babies are very sensitive to eye contact, physical contact, pointing at things, and all of those can be compromised,” Mc Clure said.
Not only are they using [this technology], but they use it a lot.”And not only that—these chats were surprisingly long, often lasting for 20 minutes or more.
And many parents of young children reported using video chat with their kids even though the kids weren’t allowed to watch television.Long before most babies toddle or talk, they begin to make sophisticated inferences about the world around them.By as young as 3 months old, newborns can form expectations based on physical principles like gravity, speed, and momentum.“Even families who avoid video exposure,” Mc Clure said, “they make an exception for video chat.”As a doctoral student, Mc Clure spent much of her time observing families with their babies during these video calls.In particular, she wanted to assess how they coped with the limitations of streaming video chat, which can be glitchy and inconsistent.Video-chat technologies, then, have major implications for how humans perceive key relationships.