Kids are spending more time than ever in front of screens, including smartphones and other types of mobile devices. Until 2016 the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended no screens at all for children under the age of 2. It was then updated. The new AAP guideline has changed from “avoid all screens under age 2” to “avoid solo media use in this age group.” Suggesting that infants between the age of 1.5 and 2 years can benefit from screen time if it is spent together with an adult, explaining what is happening on the screen and treating devices like a picture book for education purposes.
Let’s be honest. Most of us allow our infants some screen time to steal a minute for ourselves or set aside time to do some housework. Of course, with a sense of guilt. Because if screens and mobile devices can affect adults’ health and social behavior…what could they do to a developing brain?
A recent study found that there is a connection between speech delays and the time children between the ages of six months and two years spent using handheld screens, CNN reported. 20% of the children who participated in the study spent an average of 28 minutes a day using screens. Each half an hour increase in screen time was linked to a 49% increased risk of expressive speech delay or, in other words, using sounds and words to communicate. In addition, the noise and activity of a screen can be distracting for a small child and can cause a disconnect between them and their parents, pediatricians have said. It can even start substituting infant-caregiver interaction which is, in fact, the most effective method for teaching them language.
Talk with them, play with them, use different vocabulary, point things out to them and tell them stories. A gap in this type of communication can be detrimental to speech development.
As infants grow the threats of inadequate screen time and mobile devices usage raise even greater concerns. Latest statistics show an alarming increase in kids’ mental illness, which is now reaching epidemic proportions. It is linked to many factors besides excessive mobile usage, but yet, gives us good food for thought. Do electronic devices connect or disconnect us? How does public personal life exposure affect our lives and make us vulnerable? 50% increase in clinical level depression between 2011-2015 and a substantial increase in suicide rates among kids. Is this a risk worth taking?
Mobile devices are everywhere. We won’t just throw away our phones. But we need to find a balance.
Spend more devoted time with your kids when they are still in infancy, enjoy together more device-free time and more outdoor activities, teach healthy electronic device usage patterns from an early age and let them know the value of person-to-person communication.
You can find out more in the articles below.
I had never thought about that last question until a new study, released Thursday and being presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting, revealed some striking findings. The study found that the more time children between the ages of six months and two years spent using handheld screens such as smartphones, tablets and electronic games, the more likely they were to experience speech delays.
In the past week, I’ve read several studies that are scary to me… it’s the scary truth about what’s hurting our kids. We all know that what our kids hear becomes their inner voice, but it’s hard to control what they hear from others, isn’t it?