A toddler manifesting speech delay is a cause for concern for parents. A new study ties this problem to the child's use and exposure to iPads and other mobile devices at such a young age.
Researchers from the University of Toronto presented their findings at the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting last Thursday. Their study suggested too much screen time in young kids affected speech development.
They looked into 894 children from the ages six months and two years in Toronto from the years 2011 to 2015. Experts learned 20 percent of kids below two years old spent about 28 minutes on their parents' smartphone, iPad and other mobile devices, as their moms or dads confirmed.
From this number, 49 percent presented the risk of speech delay. Experts said the risk increased for every 30 minutes more the toddler spent on mobile devices.
"This is the first study to report an association between handheld screen time and increased risk of expressive language delay," study co-author Dr. Catherine Birken said, as per Science Daily. "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."
Birken was referring to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) revised guidelines on screen time in kids. The organization recommended "high-quality programming" in children, should parents choose to let them use mobile devices at 18 to 24 months, as per the AAP.
The group also recommended children 18 months and below shouldn't have any screen time exposure at all. The only exception could be for family video chats.
Birken also said the study needs to delve further into the impact of mobile devices in communication skills development in children. "You need trials. You need good evidence, at least longitudinal studies," she said, adding "at least, this finding is identifying an association and it does support the current recommendation," as per CNN.