Research, Deanna Lites, Handheld Devices, Toddlers, Speech, Talking

DETROIT (WWJ) — For years experts have advised against television viewing for babies and very young toddlers.

Now we have handheld electronic devices to contend with. So can using one of these devices impact a toddlers’ speech? The answer is yes.

Recent research looked at more than 1,000 children between the ages of six months and two years old over a four year period. They found that for every 30 minutes of hand-held screen time per day, children were more likely to have a delay in their ability to use sounds and words.

Children learn speech by experiencing it and having that communication and interaction with a human being. Pediatrician Kimberly Giuliano said devices can teach toddlers new words but it doesn’t offer “back and forth reciprocal interaction.”

“While a device may be exposing them to words, there’s not that back and forth reciprocal interaction that teaches them the social piece behind it all,” Giuliano told WWJ’s health reporter Deanna Lites. “That’s where children really learn and solidify their language skills.”

Giuliano added that once a child is 18 months old they should only be exposed to educational programming for very short periods of time. That should be less than 30-minutes a day.

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