PGI sees link between screen time, delayed speech among young children : The Tribune India

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PGI sees link between screen time, delayed speech among young children

PGI sees link between screen time, delayed speech among young children

A startling rise in delayed speech cases among children aged 4 to 5 has been observed, with a tenfold increase reported in the outpatient department (OPD). - File photo



Tribune News Service

Naina Mishra

Chandigarh, April 7

A startling rise in delayed speech cases among children aged 4 to 5 has been observed, with a tenfold increase reported in the outpatient department (OPD). Previously, only 1-2 cases were typical, but recent trends indicate a concerning escalation potentially tied to heightened screen time exposure.

Can hinder social skills among kids

Excess screen time can impede social interactions and inhibit language development. Parents must be mindful of the amount of time their children spend in front of screens. Dr Sanjay Munjal, PGI

Doctors at the PGIMER have seen a concerning correlation between prolonged screen time among children and the development of delayed speech and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). As screens become increasingly ubiquitous in day to day life, the doctors are also investigating the potential impact on development of children.

“Children who spend more time in front of screens, including smartphones, tablets and TVs, are at a higher risk of experiencing delay in speech development. We have observed a clear association between increased screen time and slower language acquisition in toddlers,” said Dr Sanjay Munjal of the ENT Department, PGIMER.

"Excessive screen time can impede crucial social interactions and inhibit language development in young children. It is essential for parents to be mindful of the amount of time their children spend in front of screens and encourage alternative activities that promote language skills and social engagement," he added.

The doctor recommended limiting screen time for children to two hours, who needed to be encouraged interactive play and face-to-face interactions to support healthy development.

“We first rule out hearing loss among children with problems of delayed speech. The problem with screen time is that it is only one way communication and there is lack of stimulation. Unlike interactive and multidimensional communication, screen time offers one-way engagement, resulting in a deficit of sensory and linguistic stimulation critical for language development,” Dr Munjal added.

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