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Comment & Response
October 2014

Infants and Interactive Media Use

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing
JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(10):968-969. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.742

To the Editor I read the Viewpoint recently published in JAMA Pediatrics by Dr Christakis1 regarding interactive media use in children younger than 2 years of age with great interest and agreement. In addition, I would urge that the definition of interactive media be broadened beyond “interactive applications currently designed for children”1 to incorporate videoconferencing programs such as Skype and FaceTime. These programs are used by even the youngest children to engage in real-time visual and reciprocal interaction with loved ones across distances. Maintenance of positive family ties is important for children’s development and well-being.2 Furthermore, emerging evidence suggests that live video interaction with adults can promote learning in toddlers.3 I hope that the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communication and Media will give thoughtful consideration to the argument made by Dr Christakis and that videoconferencing will be included in future research and policy decisions regarding the effects of interactive media on children’s cognition and health.

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