In recent years, our use of personal technology has skyrocketed. While this technology has helped us to stay connected at all times, in many ways it has also left us more disconnected. Nearly everyone has had the experience of attending a social gathering or dinner or even a professional event where people are constantly checking their phone or tablet. This addiction to our personal devices often leaves people distracted and disconnected from one another, and stunts conversation.
While we often think of overuse of technology as an adult problem, more and more young children are using personal devices every day. Recently, the American Speech-Language Hearing Association surveyed parents about their children’s use of technology. Here are just a few of the results they found:
- 68% of parents reported that their 2-year-olds use tablets
- 59% of parents reported that their 2-year-olds use smartphones
- 44% of parents reported that their 2-year-olds use video game consoles
- 52% of parents said they are concerned that technology negatively impacts the quality of their conversations with their children
- 54% of parents said they have fewer conversations with their children than they would like because of technology
The last two bullet points are particularly concerning; language input and practice is one of the most important factors in developing communication skills. While many apps for children are designed to be educational and provide stimulation, nothing can replace face-to-face communication practice.
May is Better Speech and Hearing Month, and this year’s theme is “Early Intervention Counts.” This week, take time to re-evaluate how often your child uses and technology, and decide if it’s time for you to intervene and decrease their screen-time. While you don’t have to cut out your child’s use of technology altogether, limiting their time in front of a tablet or other device early on can have a significant impact on their communication skills later in life.
If you have any questions or would like to know more about speech-language therapy, give me a call at (212) 308-7725 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.
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