(Rockville, MD – January 31, 2022) With parents and caregivers inundated with often-conflicting recommendations on screen time and technology usage by children, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the Screen Time Action Network at Fairplay (Action Network) are releasing Be Tech Wise With Toddler!, a new resource that cuts through the clutter.
The family-friendly informational piece is well suited for sharing in pediatrician, family practice, and other medical offices and outpatient therapy clinics; libraries, day care centers and preschools; and all other settings where information is provided to parents and caregivers of young children. The PDF can also be printed and/or distributed electronically through early intervention programs, parent support groups, and other networks.
Be Tech Wise With Toddler! focuses on children ages 1 to 3 years who are in a unique developmental period during which they build the foundational language, learning, literacy, and social–emotional skills they’ll need for life. This is also a time when many children begin to use tablets, smartphones, and other screens—which can interrupt their healthy development.
@ashaweb and @fairplayforkids offer free new resource on #screentime for families of #toddlers Tweet
Available in English and Spanish, the handout covers
“Managing screen time can be one of the more vexing challenges families face—and screen usage contributes to a lot of parental anxiety, guilt, stress, and frustration,” said Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD. Dr. Navsaria is a pediatrician, an early literacy advocate, an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s (UWM) School of Medicine and Public Health, and an associate professor of human development and family studies at UWM’s School of Human Ecology. Dr. Navsaria helped develop Be Tech Wise With Toddler!
He continued: “The pandemic has only heightened this challenge, as parents and caregivers are stretched so thin. So, to help parents balance the very real needs in their life while still protecting and promoting the healthy development of their children, we’re trying to educate families about why screen-free time is so critical. Despite advertiser claims, young children don’t benefit from electronic devices, apps, or technology-enabled toys. And while screens may seem to solve a temper tantrum or other behavioral issue in the moment, they are just that: a temporary solution. They can make life more difficult in the long run as children increasingly demand them—and lose their ability to self-soothe and work through their own emotions in the process. These are skills they will need for life. This resource offers a frame for families to consider as they parent their children at their best moments, worst moments, and every time in between.”
ASHA 2022 President Judy Rich, EdD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL, commented: “Technology has transformed our lives in so many ways, but one thing that hasn’t changed is how children effectively develop their communication, social, and early language and literacy skills.
“The majority of this development occurs in the first 3 years of life. It is fueled by the basics—reading with children; talking with them throughout the day so they are exposed to as much language as possible; giving them ample time to play with blocks, dolls, and other non-electronic toys that let them build their imaginations, social, and language skills; and providing undivided attention as you interact together—undistracted by screens. These simple exchanges are all vastly superior to anything a screen can provide.”
Download Be Tech Wise With Toddler! in English [PDF] and Spanish [PDF]. ASHA and the Screen Time Action Network grant free blanket permission for the handout to be reprinted in any quantity without modification—for educational purposes.
For more information on children’s communication development, visit ASHA’s Identify the Signs campaign at www.IdentifytheSigns.org. For more information on children’s screen time use, visit www.screentimenetwork.org.
About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 218,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) identify, assess, and treat speech, language, and swallowing disorders. www.asha.org
About the Screen Time Action Network at Fairplay
The Screen Time Action Network is a coalition of practitioners, educators, and advocates working to promote a healthy childhood by reducing the amount of time kids spend with digital devices. The Screen Time Action Network is a project of Fairplay. www.screentimenetwork.org/