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New Research from USD School of Education Shows Children Learn Best from Screen Time with Parent Involvement

Photo of Gabrielle Strouse. Gabrielle Strouse will publish her research in the February 2018 issue of the “Journal of Experimental Child Psychology."

VERMILLION, S.D. – Gabrielle Strouse, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Division of Counseling and Psychology in Education in the School of Education, will publish research findings on the effects of learning via screen time for toddlers in the February 2018 issue of the “Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.”

Strouse’s research focused on the learning behavior of toddlers during screen time. In her experiment, 88 toddlers at age 30-months learned about new words for objects via either video chat (e.g., Skype or Facetime) or a prerecorded video, where the parents either participated with the child or sat out of their view. The child then was tested on their learning with real versions of the objects they saw in the video.

Studying the best contexts for learning, Strouse discovered that children learned best when they had parental involvement while engaging in the video. She argues that even when participating in active video chat, toddlers “need that same parental participation in order to receive the most out of video learning."

This research supports the new guidelines by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) who stated that it is critical that screen time for children as young as 18 months “be high-quality programming, such as the content offered by Sesame Workshop and PBS.”

Read Strouse’s full research article.


USD's School of Education is transformative in preparing students both inside and outside the classroom. Its research- and practitioner-based programs train future educators, counselors, leaders, fitness and sport-related professionals for successful careers. The school focuses on a comprehensive learning experience, lifelong learning and developing professionals grounded in best practice. The school’s divisions include counseling and psychology, curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, kinesiology and sport management, and teacher residency and education.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News