Screen time

   - is limiting toddlers speech

   - and language development

ABC News reported on a study examining the impact of screen time on toddler's speech and language development. Conducted over 2.5 years with 220 Australian households, the research, led by Dr. Mary Bru from the Ton Kids Institute, involved attaching a Fitbit-like device to toddlers and recording 16 hours of audio daily. The findings revealed that the average 3-year-old might miss out on hearing up to 1,100 words, making 840 vocalizations, and participating in nearly two conversations each day due to screen time. This phenomenon, referred to as 'technoference,' suggests that screens are limiting the amount of language, conversation, and connection children experience, which is crucial for early language development. Speech pathologist Katherine McKinley highlighted that approximately 23% of children are behind in language and literacy development by school age. However, the study also suggests that eliminating screen time is not necessary; rather, the focus should be on moderation and selecting educational content to support children's development.



How Screen Time Effects Language Development



Consequences for kids' of endless screen time



Internet addiction disorder affecting toddlers



TED - How to Get Rid of Your Technology Addiction



Empowering Kids to Rise Above Technology Addiction



Questions for further reflection.
  1. How can parents and caregivers balance the need for screen time with the importance of direct interaction and conversation in supporting a child's language development and overall well-being?
  2. In what ways might 'technoference' impact other areas of a child's development, such as emotional regulation, social skills, and attention span, and how can families mitigate these potential effects?
  3. Considering the study's findings, what strategies can parents employ to enhance the quality of screen time for their children, ensuring it contributes positively to their learning and development?
  4. What areas of research and screen addiction do we need to inform our kids about? What strategies could they implement?
Reflect on these questions while listening to these songs

Song - 'Gracie' by Ben Folds



Song - Ed Sheeran - Small Bump



Song - Ugly Kid Joe - Cats In The Cradle



Discuss

Final Prayer

Heavenly Father, we pray for the wisdom to navigate the complexities of modern parenting, especially in the age of technology. Grant us the discernment to balance screen time with the precious moments of direct interaction that foster our children's language, emotional, and social development. Help us to cherish and prioritize the conversations, the quiet moments, and the daily opportunities for learning and growth that You provide. May we be mindful stewards of the time we have with our children, guiding them with love, patience, and understanding, so they may grow in Your grace and wisdom. Amen.



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Date
07 March 2024

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