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Parenting: Children Connect via Video Playdates

Parents, get ready. The next big thing your child may want is a video playdate. Although not widely accepted yet, video playdates (using video-conferencing software like Skype) are becoming more and more popular among young children. Once parents set up the computer, their children are able to interact remotely and play games with friends who moved away, or new friends that they’ve never actually met face to face. Some parents, like Robin Riggs of North Carolina, believe exposing children to playmates in other countries may introduce them to different cultures and languages at an early age.

Researchers like Lana Yarosh, a Ph.D. candidate at Georgia Tech University, are working with Microsoft Research to find entertaining ways for 7 and 8-year-olds to play via video chat and improve the user (albeit toddler) experience.

“It’s better than texting and some of the other, more remote kinds of contact," warns Laurie Zelinger, a Ph.D. child psychologist, “However, I don’t think it’s a good substitute for in-person play opportunities.”

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