There is a lot of discussion today among parents about screen time and children: How much is too much? Will screen time delay my child’s speech and language development? Will it hinder my child socially? A new study found some surprising results. The study found that children between the ages of six months and two years were more likely to experience speech delays if they were exposed to more screen time. “Screen time” includes: smartphones, tablets, electronic games, and television. Interestingly, the study did not find a link between screen time and other areas of communication, including gestures, body language, and social interaction.
So…what does this mean for parents? The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screens at all (with the exception of video-chatting with family) for children who are under 18 months of age. For children over 18 months, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents choose high-quality, educational programming that could foster learning and language development.
Children learn language best through natural play and interaction with other humans, which supports this study’s research. The less interaction time a child has with parents, caregivers, etc. has been linked to lower vocabulary levels. So turn off the I-pad, take away the cell phone, and engage in appropriate pretend-play activities with your child. Play skills are directly linked to language skills, and for babies and toddlers, playing is learning.
You can read more about the study here: