When I had my daughter I vowed I would limit her exposure to electronics as much as possible. However as time went on, I realised how incredibly difficult this was to keep up. The number of smart phone, tablet, electronic games and other handheld screens continues to grow. Along with this poses endless challenges as many children begin using these devices before learning to talk.
It's worrying to know that these children may be at higher risk for speech delays, as reported by Science Daily.
The new research states that for each 30-minute increase in handheld screen time, researchers found a 49 percent increased risk of expressive speech delay.
"Handheld devices are everywhere these days," said Dr. Catherine Birken, MD, MSc, FRCPC, the study's principal investigator and a staff pediatrician and scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids).
"While new pediatric guidelines suggest limiting screen time for babies and toddlers, we believe that the use of smartphones and tablets with young children has become quite common. This is the first study to report an association between handheld screen time and increased risk of expressive language delay," she said.
Dr. Birken said the results support a recent policy recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics to discourage any type of screen media in children younger than 18 months. I suppose this is a lot easier said than done, but it is definitely something to be mindful of. There are lots of other activities you can do with your kids to keep them away from the screens. Things like: colouring in, drawing, playing with Play Doh, building, playing dress ups, kicking a soccer ball, etc.