Technology Can Delay Your Child’s Learning

There is no escaping media for young kids growing up in the technology age. Two pathologists from Paso Del Norte Child Development Center say tablets and smartphones could actually be hindering your child from learning.

The average American spends 10 hours and 39 minutes on their cell phone, tablet, TV or computer a day, that’s according to Nielsen.

“How often are you on your cell phone,” asked CBS 4 anchor Jessie McDonough.

“A lot,” said parent Karina Rubio laughing.

“Honestly hours that I am awake probably about 65-75% of the time” said nanny Elaine Le Francois.

“Out of 24 hours, maybe 20 hours,” said parent Fabian Cholome.

“About two hours a day,” said parent Hector Carrasco.

Speech language pathologist Michelle Lopez says all of that technology time can actually negatively affect your child’s learning capabilities.

"Just observing it, what we can see is that if a parent is on the phone, that takes away from time that they could be interacting with their child that they could be identifying toys and objects in their environment,” said Lopez.

Lopez says what is even worse is how much time kids are spending on their devices.

"We will ask parents how much media use are your kids engaging, and typically, it is three or four hours, and sometimes more,” said Lopez.

According to Lopez, kids growing up in the digital age have an even harder time learning.

"It interferes with early language development, so for example, a child may learn academic information on apps on a tablet or ipad but it may but it may trump social language,” said Lopez.

Delayed speech, incorrect pronunciation and awkward social interaction can be signs it may be time for you and your child to put down the tablet and pick up a book.

“By the age of two years, children should have 200-300 words in their expressive vocabulary,” said speech pathologist Olivia Dominquez.

If your child is not at this developmental level, there are things you can do to help.

First, limit your child’s time on their device.

“For two- to five-year-olds they recommend only one hour a day, said Lopez.

Take breaks from ipads and smart phones for real-life play.

“We should say we have 15 minutes on the ipad, then we are going to do 15 minutes with this book,” said Dominguez.

You can also play on the device with your child so it’s more interactive.

“Honestly, if the parent is interacting with the child while using the technology, you are the one who is putting the language in place and teaching them that vocabulary,” said Dominguez.

Remember, playing with toys with your child, singing a song or picking up a good, old-fashioned interactive child’s book are all things you can do to help your child.

Finally, model the behavior. If you cannot remove your eyes from your smart phone, do not expect your child to be able to either.

If you think your child’s learning is delayed, you can call the Paso Del Norte Children’s Development Center to diagnose and treat the issue at (915) 544-8484.

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