Impact Of Screen Time On Language Development
During my practice in recent times, I came across Parents who don’t give enough time in interacting with their children due to their busy life schedules. They later realize that their child is not speaking age-appropriately, and report that their child spends maximum time in using handheld screens such as smartphones, Tablets, and Electronic games.
Interaction must come before the language acquisition:
Yes, Social Interactions play a major role in language development. Every parent is eager to hear their child speaking. Communication in children begins long before they start using words.
There’s a list of things a child learns about communication before he can begin to communicate with words. And these important “pre-language” skills like eye contact and imitation are best learned in context with the adults in his/her life.
Young kids learn language best through social interaction and engagement with other people, children who hear less language in their homes have less vocabulary. Both language development and vocabulary growth in young children are directly related to the amount of time adults spend speaking to them.
Kuhl (2004) reported that in studies examining speech-perception learning and speech-production learning, human-human interactions had a strong influence on a child’s language development.
With new screen technologies constantly being developed, childhood is becoming increasingly enveloped into a digital world. Many research studies have proven that excessive screen time is associated with increased health risks, especially in early childhood where face-to-face human interaction is crucial for language development.
1. According to the new guidelines of the American Academy of Paediatrics children less than 18 months of age should not be exposed to any screen time at all. Children between two to five years of age should be allowed no more than one hour of screen time each day.
Catherine Birken, a pediatrician, and scientist at the Hospital for sick children in Toronto asked the parents to estimate how much time their children spent each day with hand-held screens, like smartphones, tablets and electronic games from 2011 to 2015. Birken and her team assessed children with the Infant Toddler Checklist — a screening tool that looks for signs of delayed communication development. The team recruited and examined nearly 900 toddlers, aged 6 to 24 months, for the study.
By the time they reached their 18-month checkups, 20 percent of the children used mobile devices for 28 minutes on average each day. They found children who spent more time with hand-held screens were more likely to exhibit signs of a delay in expressive speech — how children use their sounds and words, and how they put their words together to communicate.
Some ways that parents can help to nurture healthy screen time habits include:
- Limiting screen time consumption according to the current recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Setting limits on where touch screen devices are allowed to be used in the home.
- Keeping them out of bedrooms and away from the dinner table are great places to start.
- Consuming media together as a family and using it to in regular conversation.
- Ensuring that media consumption does not interfere with adequate sleep, physical activity, or other behaviors essential to your child’s health.
- Turn off their devices at home during family time.
- Engage the child in activities.
Eg: Use the TV to expand your children’s interests. Parents can link TV programs with their child’s interests, activities, and hobbies. A child interested in crafts can watch craft programs for encouragement and ideas; after viewing a wildlife show, take the kids to the zoo and have them recall what they learned about the animals from the TV program.
Technology today is such an amazing achievement for mankind. It provides us with an infinite information highway at our fingertips. At the same time, it also provides us a few negative effects. The over-use of screen devices like TV, video games, cell phones, computers, and iPad’s are being found by researchers to have significant effects on the developing brains of children.
Kids learn language from media if they’re watching with a parent who then uses the media as a teaching tool. “Help the child apply it to the rest of the world around them — the way parents often do with a book.” If they want to promote some sort of language learning or developmental stimulation that is always still done best through interpersonal interaction.
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