The more time a child up to two years old spends in front of a mobile phone screen, tablet or other portable electronic device, the more likely is to start speaking late, according to a new Canadian research.
This is the first time a study finds this for portable devices, while previous studies have shown that watching television screen a lot may delay a child will talk.
The researchers, led by Julia Ma of the University of Toronto, who made the announcement at the conference of the Pediatric Academic Societies in San Francisco, studied 1,077 children aged six months to two years.
Until 18 months of age, one in five children (20%) used an average screen for almost half an hour a day, while 70% of children up to 18 months had never used a portable device.
For every 30-minute increase in the daily use of a screen, the risk a child to delay to start speaking increased by almost 50%.
The use of screens did not seem to delay the child’s non-verbal forms of communication through movements and gestures.
Researchers have warned that as children more end up with a portable device in their hands before they even start speaking, it can have negative consequences.
As they said, the new findings argue in favor of discouraging the use of any kind of monitors by children under the age of one and a half years old.