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Study: Educational apps can help children learn, but with some limitations

child in headphones
Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images

Interactive learning apps prove helpful for early academic skills in developing children, particularly in early mathematics, but not without some limitations, researchers found.

Why it matters: Touch screens are ubiquitous among young children due in part to the rising popularity of educational apps that teach classroom instruction and memory. Under pressure to prepare them for school, parents give children the technology for later academic, behavioral, and emotional functioning.

Yes, but: There is no evidence of the effectiveness of apps trying to improve social communication skills in children with autism spectrum disorder, according to a study of more than 4,000 participants published Monday in the American Academy of Pediatrics.

  • More research is needed to evaluate both the potential and the limitations of educational apps to support early learning.

Several past studies have tried to measure children's increasing exposure to screen time, but never on the effect of interactive content on the education of children.

Go deeper: "60 Minutes" talked to scientists studying the effects of screen time on different age groups of children.