Does Screen Time Affect Language Development

Technology is all around us with more kids receiving new devices- smartphones, tablets, television- everyday! With new shows such as CocoMelon and Peppa Pig captivating kids’ attention, it is difficult for parents to distance their child from technology. Nowadays, many children are masterminds at navigating the various forms of technology whether it be their mother’s cellular phone or an iPad. Often, screen time allows for a reprieve from their child’s hectic schedule.

Despite knowing that technology is constantly evolving around us, the questions remain.

  1. Does screen time affect my child’s development?
  2. If screen time impacts my child’s growth, how much screen time is too much?
  3. Is there anything that’s beneficial to my child?

Let's take a closer look!

Does screen time affect my child's development? Yes.

According to Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting, children who are exposed to screen time at a young age prior to verbal language are at high risk for speech delays. A study conducted by Catherine Birken showed that children who utilized a technological device- phones, tablets, electronic games, television- for an average of 30 minutes daily were 49% more likely to be at risk for expressive language delay.  

As shown by surveys, screen time is also directly linked to reduced social opportunities, impaired social development, delayed speech and language, and possible academic challenges.

While studies completed show that screen time can negatively affect your child’s growth and development, some studies indicate that the speech and language risks are directly linked to at what point a child is exposed to screen time and how much time is spent in front of a screen daily.

A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health shows that children receive an increase use of screen time of 30 minutes at 1 year of age to 120 minutes at 3 years of age. While screen time increased during the child’s toddler years, researchers found that screen time decreased to a maximum of 1.5 hours daily when kids were ages 7-8. By starting screen time at an early age (e.g. 12 months), this can greatly impact their development.

If screen time impacts my child's growth, how much screen time is too much?

Here are recommendations by The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

18 months: No screen time

18-25 months: Introduction to screen time but restrict use to high quality programming with increased engagement by an adult

2-5 years: Limit screen time to 1 hour per day with frequent engagement with your child

6 years: Continue to limit your child’s level of screen time and ensure that they are actively participating in additional activities (e.g. physical exercise and school work)

Is there anything that's beneficial to my child? Yes.

As The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended above,  active engagement with screen time in highly recommended versus passive engagement. In other words, we want to make sure we are talking and playing with our child while watching the different channels. Feel free to sing along to Coco Melon or bring a toy to engage them with! Any type of engagement allows for language opportunities which help your child’s overall growth! 

Let’s limit the amount of screen time and set up opportunities for language that best fits your child’s needs! Contact us today!

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