Sam Saunders' internet insights;Briefing;Research Focus

18th June 1999 at 01:00
A VIDEO with sound can add a lot to a research report. A new book on the language of babies and infants by American child psychologists Roberta Michnick Golinkoff and Kathy Hirsh-Pasek is being promoted in this way on the net at http:www.udel.eduPRNewsReleasesbabies.html Five short video-clips are used to present the main ideas.

We know that parents use a special way of talking ("motherese", according to Golinkoff and Hirsh-Pasek). But it was surprising to learn that even four-year-olds adopt that squeaky language to address their junior siblings.

It is also interesting to see that Sammy Minker and his Dad (two of the psychologists' subjects) do a lot less talking than the researchers. "How Babies Talk: The Magic and Mystery of Language in the First Three Years of Life" is published in the US by Dutton.

While 72 per cent of US teenagers believe they could always trust their parents to be there for them when they needed them, three-quarters of their parents seem to be unhappy about the deal.

Polled by Public Agenda On-line, 1,000 parents reported six times as many negative reactions to teenagers as positive ones and 67 per cent feared for the time when the new generation takes over.

The researchers are also apprehensive, pointing out that three-quarters of teenagers reported that they do not belong to clubs or organisations, but usually get together with friends to "hang out" without anything specific to do. "Potential trouble is not far away," the researchers conclude.

Public Agenda is a New York opinion research organisation, founded by former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance.

Its 1999 survey of "Kids These Days" can be found at http:www.publicagenda. orgspecialskidskids.htm alongside other research on a wide range of topics.

Readers can e-mail suggestions on Internet Insights to Sam Saunders at J.O.Saunders@leeds.ac.uk

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