“So it’s an interesting question: How do we form a knowledge of people if we’re only seeing them in two dimensions? "Babies end up learning best, perhaps not surprisingly, with guidance from a trusted caregiver.
So despite the ream of technological limitations that can accompany Internet-based video chats, even infants can cope well when a call doesn’t go as planned.
“Just saying something like, ‘The internet’s not working,’” Barr said.
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.“Because they can’t really talk and so there’s no back-and-forth ...The baby may be nodding and communicating, but there’s no way for the person on the other end to see that they’re responding.“Really tiny babies pick up on the social responsiveness of a person.
If there’s something wacky about it, it bothers them.”Study after study has demonstrated that when the natural timing in an interaction lags, it can “really hurt a baby’s ability to learn,” said Rachel Barr, a developmental psychologist at Georgetown.
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.
Researchers have long studied how passive television viewing affects young children, and how well children can learn from watching educational programming, but scientists are only just beginning to figure out how babies understand screen interactions with another person in real time.
Michael Rich, the director of the Center on Media and Child Health and a pediatrics professor at Harvard Medical School, said that the latest findings help illustrate how the concept of “screen time” is too broad.
For example, babies watching television or movies tend to be confused when broadcast sound is even slightly out of sync.