STRIDE Ahead: Technology and Language Development

For more information:
STRIDE Learning Center-   
(307) 632-2991   www.stridekids.com

Cheyenne, Wyo. (KGWN) The following information is courtesy Christina Nelson, Speech-Language Pathologist at STRIDE Learning Center.

Technology is a very large part of our everyday lives. We all use tablets, computers, televisions and cell phones on a daily basis. Technology has made many things easier for us as adults, but the research is showing that we should limit children’s exposure to technology.

What is recommended for use of television or technology for children?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:
• Children under age 2 are not exposed to media use
• Parents set limits on children’s use of media (screen time should be 1-2 hours maximum per day)
• TVs are not placed in children’s bedrooms
• Limiting use of television for background noise
o This can decrease children’s ability to sustain attention, limiting their learning and development of attention. Children play and interact less when the television is on.
• Encouraging unstructured play time (free play that is not adult-directed that allows children to explore themselves, their ideas, the materials around them-can be inside or outside)
o This type of play helps to develop creativity, language and skills to sustain attention develop turn-taking, help them learn about themselves
• Reading to your child
What if television watching is part of our everyday routine?
Television and media use is a part of all of our lives. If your child is going to be watching television, be sure to know what they are watching and watch it with them so that you can discuss it together.
What does the research say about children and technology?
There is more research out there than we have time for today about how the areas of physical health, behavioral health, language and learning development can be impacted negatively by television watching. I have provided a link to the American Academy of Pediatrics for anyone interested in learning more. As a Speech-Language Pathologist, I’m very interested in the impact of technology on language development.

Why does a Speech-Language Pathologist want you to turn the TV off and limit technology use?
• There have been studies showing that children birth -2 years who watch television are at a higher risk for language delays at least in the short-term. Even educational shows are not proven to help develop language skills.
• Reading is important for vocabulary development and it is difficult to read without distraction when the TV is on.
• There is a reduction in the amount of time available for quality parent-child interactions and in the quality of language that your child hears when technology is being used.
o You are your child’s best teacher. Children aren’t wired to learn everything from their ipads or television. They are wired to learn from you.
o Language and communication is about interacting with each other-children need to learn to interact with people, not the computer/tablet/cell phone, etc.
How do I help my child develop language skills?
• Stress the words you want your child to learn
• Show your child what you are talking about
• Have your child follow directions for you
• Observe what your child is interested in and join in with his play
• Sing songs and add actions to the songs
• Play with sounds
• Talk about what you are doing, your child is doing, your dog is doing, etc.
• Read books together
• Use everyday experiences as learning opportunities
o The grocery store
 “this apple is red”, “what color apples do you like?”, “the ice cream is cold”, “we need a big, green watermelon”
o Sorting laundry
 “this is the light pile”, “find the red shirt”, “the laundry soap is heavy”

Resources:

The American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Communications and Media
http://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/Committees-Councils-Sections/Council-on-Communications-Media/Pages/Education-and-Resources.aspx
The Hanen Centre- www.hanen.org
http://www.hanen.org/Helpful-Info/Articles/Television-Watching--Practical-advice-for-parents.aspx
http://www.hanen.org/Helpful-Info/Articles/Unplugged--New-recommendations-about-Media-Use-fro.aspx


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