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The Pass-Back Effect

Lisa Guernsey (of The New America Foundation’s Early Education Initiative) says kids are asking to borrow the iPhone at younger and younger ages:

Last year, an analysis of education content on iTunes highlighted a surprising statistic: Of the “apps” in the education section of the iTunes app store, the greatest percentage of children’s titles are aimed at toddlers and preschoolers. What are those apps like? Why are they so popular? Do they really deserve the label “educational” – or are they no more than eye-candy for the next generation of gamers?

She calls this the “pass-back” effect. In other words, when parents are busy, say driving the car, they’ll “pass-back” the iPhone to keep their children occupied.

I suppose if the kid’s going to be playing with the phone anyway, you might as well find some educational apps, but I’m not sure that I’m ready to pass our fairly new, and somewhat expensive, iPhone back to our almost five-year-old just yet.

And I was hoping to wait a few more years before I heard “Dad, can I borrow the iPhone.” Or worse, “can I have an iPhone?”

Lisa Guersey interviews Carly Schuler, research and industry fellow at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center and the co-author of Learning: Is There An App for That? The Podcast is 18 minutes long.

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