Too early tablet and smartphone use Cause of speech delay in many infants?
Today, the number of smartphones, tablets and portable game consoles (handhelds) is increasing dramatically. Through this effect, more and more young children come in contact with these devices early on. Researchers now found that the use of such devices in early childhood carries an increased risk of speech delay.
Researchers at the University of Toronto found in their study that the use of tablets and smartphones can lead to speech delay in young children. The physicians released a press release on the results of their study, which was also presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting.More and more young children are using tablets or smartphones. Physicians noted that this early use can lead to language development problems. (Image: Natallia Vintsik / fotolia.com)
Experts examine 894 subjects for their study
For their study, between 2011 and 2015, researchers examined a total of 894 children between the ages of six months and two years. The subjects were regularly subjected to various examinations. The experts found that about 20 percent of the children used an average of 28 minutes a day on tablets or similar devices. The more time the children spent in front of the screens, the more likely they were to delay the development of the language, the researchers say.
How much more 30 minutes before the screen increases the likelihood of speech delays?
For every 30-minute increase in screen time, the researchers confirmed a 49 percent increased risk of speech delay. However, there was no obvious link between screen time and other communication delays, such as social interactions, body language or gestures, the authors explain.
More and more young children are coming into contact with smartphones and tablets
Portable devices such as smartphones and tablets are widely used today. New pediatric guidelines suggest that especially for babies and toddlers a limitation of the screen time should be observed. The use of tablets and smartphones in small children is now quite common, say the experts. The current study was the first to examine the association between screen time and the risk of speech delay.
Further research is needed
The findings of the investigation support a recent recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics. This states that any kind of so-called screen media should be avoided in children under 18 months. However, further research is needed to better understand the nature and content of screen activity and its impact on language development, the authors explain. Other factors must also be considered, such as the use of parents' tablets and smartphones and the sharing of devices with parents and toddlers. Only by considering all these factors, the long-term influence on the communication results in early childhood can be understood, the doctors say. (As)