Whether it’s a tablet, smart phone, computer or television, there are so many opportunities for children to use electronic devices. With so many screens in the hands of young children, how does this affect their communication and language development?
Here are a few facts about screen time:
The US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that American children spend a whopping seven hours a day in front of electronic media.
Too much screen time can impact the ability to focus, concentrate, lend attention, sense other people’s attitudes and communicate with them, and build a large vocabulary.
Handheld screen time is linked to delayed speech development. Each 30-minute increase in handheld screen time translated into a 49 percent increased risk of expressive speech delay.
When young children are observing screens, they may be missing important opportunities to practice and master interpersonal, motor, and communication skills.
The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages any type of screen media in children younger than 18 months.
What Can I Do at Home?
Limit electronics to no more than 1 hr/ day for children older than 18 months
Substitute screen time with other activities such as reading books, coloring, playing outside, and interacting with peers.
If your child uses screen time for an extended period of time, try reducing his or her screen time by 30 minutes each week until he or she has an average screen time of about one hour per day.
Substitute screen time with time that you are interacting with your child. The more words that your child hears, the more his or her language skills will grow.
Model healthy screen time use in the home. Be an example for your child and show him or her other ways to play and interact besides using electronics.
Lynn Crawford M.A. CCC-SLP is a practicing speech-language pathologist licensed in the state of New Jersey. She is a certified member of the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) who obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Language Pathology at Stockton University and her master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology at Kean University.
As a certified therapist, Lynn has extensive clinical experience treating medically fragile patients with cognitive-communication and swallowing difficulties in skilled nursing facilities and inpatient and outpatient settings. She evaluates and treats patients in English and Spanish and she is a certified VitalStim provider. Lynn is also an adjunct clinical supervisor at Monmouth University. She enjoys keeping up to date on the latest clinical research and prides herself on continuing to learn and grow as a therapist. Lynn’s proudest accomplishment is her strong record of community service and dedication to helping her patients grow and reach their greatest potential.