This is a very interesting question because it relates to screen time, electronics, and how much is too much.
Research shows conflicting reports on whether or not screen time impacts speech and language, but numbers are leaning towards, yes.
However, it is also important to note that the children who are diagnosed with speech and language delays are also put in front of tablets, TVs, and cell phones for a significantly longer amount of time than kids who are not diagnosed with any delays.
A 2017 study by Dr. Catherine Birkin found that by the 18-month checkup, 20% of the children reported a daily average handheld device use of 28 minutes, according to their parents.
Based on a screening tool for language delay, researchers found that the more handheld screen time a child’s parent reported, the more likely the child was to have delays in expressive speech.
For each 30-minute increase in handheld screen time, researchers found a 49% increased risk of expressive speech delay.
There was no apparent link between handheld device screen time and other communications delays, such as social interactions, body language, or gestures. This is the first study to report a link between handheld devices and expressive language delay.
I have two children; a daughter who is 3 and a son who is 7 months. My son NEVER gets screen time, neither did my daughter at his age. My daughter loves movies and will occasionally watch YouTube when my in-laws are babysitting her. My rules for the iPad and YouTube? No more than 10 minutes and then she has to read some books.
I also communicate with her while she is on the iPad so that she doesn’t become a zombie. When she watches movies on TV, I also ask her questions about what she is watching and limit that to one movie a day, usually after bath time. My daughter is “typical” and has no speech or language delays.
We already wrote about 3 Questions to Ask When Choosing Screen Time Activities for Your Toddler, here is a quick reminder:
Speech Blubs App is a smart screen time activity that encourages conversation with your child. It also encourages speech imitation! For more quality time with your little one, consider holding the device for your child and facing them during the speech practice.
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