We here at Speech Blubs get a lot of questions from concerned parents about whether it’s a good idea to use smart screens to help their young children learn.
Some parents go so far as to say that it’s not possible for screen time to help with learning, so why should we encourage them to “get lost in screens”?
Let’s hear what the experts have to say, and then you can make up your own minds.
“Today’s children grow up immersed in digital media, which has both positive and negative effects on healthy development. What’s most important is that parents be their child’s ‛media mentor.’ That means teaching them how to use it as a tool to create, connect and learn.”
The AAP recommends parents prioritize creative, unplugged playtime for infants and toddlers. Some media can have educational value for children starting at around 18 months of age, but it’s critically important that this be high-quality programming:
Parents can set expectations and boundaries to make sure their children’s media experience is a positive one. The key is mindful use of media within a family.American Academy for Pediatrics
For school-aged children and adolescents, the idea is to balance media use with other healthy behaviors.
“As part of a larger report on the risks of physical inactivity and sleep deprivation for children under age 5, WHO recommends no solitary, sedentary screen time at all for infants up to age 2, and only an hour a day for children ages 2 to 5.”
Editor’s note: As always, children who use low- and high-tech augmentative and alternative communication devices (AAC) should continue to use them at all times – and in an interactive way.
“Teach passive versus active screen time. Passive screen time takes place when a child watches a show alone and isn’t encouraged to respond to the characters in any way. Active screen time includes using a device to make a video call or watching a show – or playing games – with a parent or caregiver who communicates with the child. Active screen time generates some two-way communication, encourages language use, and involves family members and friends.”
“I worked as an early intervention therapist for seven years prior to my private practice setting, and I can tell you that the children whose parents are actively involved and participate move through therapy faster and see quicker results. These parents constantly asked me for progress notes and for things they could work on at home! It may seem overwhelming, but chances are, you are already doing some of the exercises that I’m going to talk about.”
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Obviously, in every case mentioned here, they warn about possible negative effects of too much screen time, and say that you should limit it to one hour per day. They also emphasize that it’s important that kids’ screen time is not sedentary (“set and forget”) or inactive, that it should be under the supervision and with the participation of parents, and that parents should teach kids how to navigate the worldwide web.
Speech Blubs, first of all, agrees, and recommends that parents who think their child may have speech issues to make an appointment with a speech therapist to get tested. Once tested, parents will have a directed homework list of types of activities. If you don’t have access to a speech therapist, then try our 7-day FREE TRIAL and fill out the speech therapist-approved screener to get personalized feedback about your child’s status. Please also re-check the section above for tips how to use it from a speech therapist.
Finally, please also note that we highly recommend guided, parent-led engagement with this app. It’s not meant to be given to your little one, and then forgotten. It will be so much more fun and effective if you’re having fun with your child. AND, we only recommend 10-15 minutes per day, which is well within the experts’ recommendations.
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