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Topic: Traditional Toys May Beat Gadgets in Language Development


Baby laptops, baby cellphones, talking farms — these are the whirring, whiz-bang toys of the moment, many of them marketed as tools to encourage babies' language skills.


But a new study raises questions about whether such electronic playthings make it less likely that babies will engage in the verbal give-and-take with their parents that is so crucial to cognitive development.


The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, found that when babies and parents played with electronic toys that are specifically advertised as language-promoters, parents spoke less and responded less to baby babbling than when they played with traditional toys like blocks or read board books. Babies also vocalized less when playing with electronic toys.


"My hunch is that they were letting the baby interact with the toy and they were on the sidelines," said Anna V. Sosa, an associate professor of communications science and disorders at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, who led the study.



The study builds on a growing body of research suggesting that electronic toys and e-books can make parents less likely to have the most meaningful kinds of verbal exchanges with their children.

"When you put the gadgets and gizmos in, the parents stop talking," said Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a professor of psychology at Temple University who was not involved in the new study, but who has found similar effects with e-books and electronic shape-sorters. "What you get is more behavioral regulation stuff, like 'don't touch that' or 'do this,' or nothing because the books and toys take it over for you."



She added, "A toy should be 10 percent toy and 90 percent child, and with a lot of these electronic toys the toy takes over 90 percent and the child just fills in the blank."

Sosa said she was surprised by the results. She had expected some parent-baby pairs would talk more with one type of toy, while others would talk more with another.


But the results were consistent almost across the board. When electronic toys were being used, parents said about 40 words per minute, on average, compared with 56 words per minute for traditional toys and 67 words per minute with books.


The study was small — 26 families — and most were white and educated. So the researchers say the results might be different with a larger and more diverse group. But the study is notable because it sought to capture real world parent-child playtime in their homes without researchers watching.

Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/292769/web/

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Topic: Boffin Barbie- toy creator honors vaccine co-creator

Toy giant Mattel said Wednesday last week it hoped to “inspire the next generation” after creating a model of its iconic Barbie doll in honor of Sarah Gilbert, co-creator of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine.


Gilbert said she found the news “very strange” but hoped “children who see my Barbie will realize how vital careers in science are to help the world around us.”


“My wish is that my doll will show children careers they may not be aware of, like a vaccinologist.”

The toy company created models in honor of five other women in the sciences: US healthcare workers Amy O’Sullivan and Audrey Cruz, Canadian campaigner Chika Stacy Oriuwa, Brazilian researcher Jaqueline Goes de Jesus and Australian medic Kirby White.



“Barbie recognizes that all frontline workers have made tremendous sacrifices when confronting the pandemic and the challenges it heightened,” said Lisa McKnight, senior vice president of Barbie and dolls at Mattel.


“To shine a light on their efforts, we are sharing their stories and leveraging Barbie’s platform to inspire the next generation to take after these heroes and give back.”

“Our hope is to nurture and ignite the imaginations of children playing out their own storyline as heroes.”

「為彰顯其努力,我們分享他們的故事,並利用芭比娃娃這平台,來激勵下一代追隨這些英雄並做出回饋」。「我們希望培養及點燃孩子的想像力,讓他們在遊戲扮演角色時,有自己的英雄故事」。Source article: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2021/08/09/2003762257

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Topic: Giant Japanese robot spurs hopes for tourism after virus hit 受病毒衝擊後 巨大的日本機器人為觀光業燃起希望

An 18-metre “Gundam” robot that can walk and move its arms was unveiled in Japan on Monday amid hopes that it will help invigorate tourism hit by COVID-19.


The robot is modelled after a figure in “Mobile Suit Gundam”, a Japanese cartoon first launched in the late 1970s about enormous battle robots piloted by humans. The series spawned multiple spin-offs and toys and gained a worldwide following.


It will be the centrepiece of the Gundam Factory Yokohama, a tourist attraction that opens on Dec. 19 in the port city.


“I hope this will lead to stimulating tourism demand and revitalising local areas,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a news conference.


Source article: https://features.ltn.com.tw/english/article/paper/1417730



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