Babies using mobile devices may suffer speech delays - FOX29 Lake Charles

Babies using mobile devices may suffer speech delays

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A new study links babies' screen time with their using sounds and words. (Source: CNN) A new study links babies' screen time with their using sounds and words. (Source: CNN)

(CNN) - A new study may give pause to parents who easily hand their babies mobile devices.

The study looked at kids age six months to 24 months.

Of the children, 20 percent spent an average of 28 minutes a day using screens, the study found.

Every 30-minute increase in daily screen time was linked to a 49 percent increased risk of what the researchers call expressive speech delay, which is using sounds and words.

The study, which involved nearly 900 children, did not find any link between use of a handheld device and other areas of communication, such as gestures, body language and social interaction.

The lead researcher, a doctor at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, told CNN much more research is needed, including what content the child is watching, to determine if the device use is causing the speech delay. 

"I believe it's the first study to examine mobile media device and communication delay in children," said Dr. Catherine Birken, a pediatrician and scientist at the hospital. "... I think the results need to be tempered (because) it's really a first look."

The research was  presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in San Francisco.

Parents provided researchers the amount of time their children spent using screens in minutes per day at age 18 months. Researchers then assessed the children's language development at 18 months by looking at the number of sounds or words the children used to get attention or help. 

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