Speech and Language Delays

Technology overuse in early-childhood can negatively impact a child’s development of critical skills necessary for life-long learning. Speech and language delays are of particular concern.

At any age, but particularly in early childhood, children develop neural pathways for communication, both verbal and non-verbal. Time spent on screens is time NOT spent interacting with the world around them with impedes development of crucial communication skills.

Each additional 30 minutes of hand-held screen time was linked to a 49 percent increased risk in expressive speech delay. This study’s key finding highlights what could be a life-altering trend for children exposed to too much hand-held screen time at the expense of expressive speech.

Children learn to talk and communicate through interactions with other people. “Despite claims that technology (particularly apps) can improve the learning of this skill, research and analysis of case studies have revealed that technology actually delays speech and language. The first several years of life are crucial for your child’s language development. It is when their brain is the most receptive to learning a new language and is building communication pathways that will be with them for the rest of their lives. Once that window closes, it is much more difficult for someone to learn and develop language skills.” Speechandlanguagekids.com

“Every minute that your child spends in front of a screen is one fewer minute that he could spend learning from your interactions with him or practicing his interactions with you. Screen time takes away from time that could (and should) be spent on person-to-person interactions. Communication is about interacting with others, the give and take. The speaker responds to the listener’s body language and adapts what they are saying. The listener uses non-verbal cues to gain deeper meaning from the speaker’s message. Videos do not replace person-to-person interactions for teaching language or communication.”

Association Between Screen Time and Children’s Performance on a Developmental Screening Test - In this cohort study of early childhood development in 2,441 mothers and children, higher levels of screen time in children aged 24 and 36 months were associated with poor performance on a screening measure assessing children’s achievement of development milestones at 36 and 60 months, respectively. The obverse association (ie, poor developmental performance to increased screen time) was not observed.

Worth Watching: Technology and Young Children with Dr. Nancy Carlsson-Paige - TLO Partner Dr. Nancy Carlsson-Paige offers a full exploration of how and why screens interfere with developmental milestones crucial to children’s well-being. Using specific, real-life examples, Dr. Carlsson-Paige illustrates the difference between what children “learn” from screens and what they learn through physical, hands-on activities. Dr. Carlsson-Paige has created an accompanying parent guide that illustrates and expands upon the concepts she discusses in the webinar. It’s a great resource for teachers and families.

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