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Warning that first toy 'tablet' could spawn generation of struggling 'iKids'

June 11, 2011 - London

The first tablet computer for youngsters - the InnoTab by Vtech, which is set to be launched in the UK in August and in America this fall, will lead to a generation of 'iKids' who may struggle to read, write and speak properly, experts have warned.

Targeted at children aged four to nine, the InnoTab that packs in a 5in colour touchscreen, built-in MP3 player and 'child-friendly applications, aims to exploit the success of the Apple iPad among a younger market.

But Dr Aric Sigman, a fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine warned that children are already showing 'signs and symptoms of not spending enough time paying attention to the 3D world around them'.

"It's absolutely imperative that children spend as much time as possible interacting with real people, particularly looking at their parents' faces and picking up facial and voice cues and gaining eye-to-eye contact," the Daily Mail quoted Sigman as saying.

"'If they don't, they don't learn to speak as well and they don't learn how their behaviour affects others."

But educational psychologist Kairen Cullen said the InnoTab 'could be a very good thing' to prepare children for 'increasingly media-rich worlds'.

She added that she often sees young children who have a 'fascination' with gadgets due to their parents' use of new technology.


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