SAN FRANCISCO (CNET) – Young kids parked in front of so called learning DVDs like Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby actually have more limited vocabulary than kids who don’t watch. The researchers who documented that surmised that educational content alone, isn’t enough.

Children learn when they’re engaged, not just watching.

Enter the smartphone or the iPod Touch with it’s touch screen and applications, or apps. Kids who spend just a few hours with one of these devices and an educational app, like Martha Speaks, show up to a 31 percent boost in vocabulary growth over kids who didnt play with the device.

The study was conducted in low-income schools by PBS, which also authored this app.

Perhaps what’s most encouraging about the study: The kids were never directed to use the apps, they only did so, when they wanted to.

So putting your young kids in front of a screen may actually be a good thing, as long as they’re more than just a hi-tech spectator.

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