Research presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting suggests that children as young as 18 months demonstrated language delays.
The study included children ages 6 months and 2 years in Toronto between 2011 and 2015. At 18 months, 20% of the children had daily average screentime of 28 minutes, based on parental reporting. Using a language screening tools,researchers found that the more screen time a child had, the more likely the child was to demonstrate delays in language development.
For every 30 minute increase of screen time, researchers found a 49% increased risk of expressive speech delay. Time spent using handheld screens did not affect social interactions, gestures or use of body language.
What you can do
1. Provide real face time with your child. Human interaction is priceless when it comes to your child’s speech and language development.
2. Limit screen time. Set a timer to limit screen time each day.
3. Be strong. Your child may become upset, cry, and really want to play with the phone or tablet. Encourage your child’s speech and language development by removing the device and finding other ways to engage and entertain your child through songs, nursery rhymes or books.
If you are worried about your child’s speech-language development, contact a speech-language pathologist or your child’s pediatrician.
Jann Fujimoto, MS CCC-SLP helps children become confident and competent communicators as a speech-language pathologist and owner of SpeechWorks. SpeechWorks serves children in the Lake Country area with offices in Oconomowoc and Waukesha, Wisconsin.