Screen Time Linked to Speech Delay in Children
Let’s face it. Many parents nowadays are letting their children play with either tablets or smartphones in that hope that it would keep them busy. Everybody lives a busy life, so this is not to be condemned. However, there are some things parents should think about when letting the kids play for hours on a phone. How does that interaction affect them and their social behavior? Does it have any effect on their brain? And most importantly, does it provoke speech delays? A new study, released on Thursday and presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting, revealed that there might indeed be a connection between all those facts.
Screens are affecting the children
According to the study, the more time children between six months and two years spend looking at electronic devices, the more likely it is for them to develop speech delays. According to Dr. Catherine Birken, the study’s senior investigator, this is the very first study which analyzes the links between mobile devices and speech delay in children. And the results are striking. However, the doctor warns the parents to not take this first result too seriously because scientists need more time in order to come to a clear conclusion.
The study involved about 900 children whose parents reported the amount of time the kids spent in front of mobile devices of any kind. They reported this when the children were 18 months-old. Additionally, researchers used some kind of validated screen tool in order to measure the kids’ language development at 18 months. This included whether or not the kid was able to use sounds and gestures to communicate, or to put letters or word together. About 20 per cent of the children were spending about 28 minutes in front of a screen. Each 30-minute increase in that time also increased the risk of developing speech delay with 49 per cent.
Not the final conclusion
However, Dr. Catherine Birken stated that her team needs to conduct more research. They need to find out if the link between mobile devices and speech delay is really something that we should take seriously. According to her, it may also have to do with what exactly are the kids watching and how does that affect them.
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