About a year ago I wrote a few observations on cell phones and child communication. I Suggested that parents spend 10-20 minutes a day engaging in speech with their children, listening to their child and building conversations.
Today I notice the cell phone in the pocket, on the table, near the bed in the hand of the parent. It is the "go to " item. Answer the phone then answer the child. The child sees it and it has become, in some ways, a competition for the child: "what can I do to get attention?" And it can be positive or negative behavior to get that attention.
I have seen many blogs and on line discussions about the cell phone in our lives. This is a well discussed topic of parents and educators.
As a speech therapist, I am concerned that the cell phone has distracted us, reduced our attention span, as adults, more and more, at the cost of speaking and focusing in a meaningful way with our children. We work all day , come home and hook up to relax with the computer or phone. Heads down, eyes on the screen. Children as well hook up to the screen , talking less with friends verbally and watching screens and playing with hand held game toys.
Children learn by example to talk and express themselves and if we are reducing this precious learning time, how will they learn?
When children are referred for speech therapy due to lack of "expressive language skills", it is not always a learning disability or cognitive delay, it is sometimes simply a
lack of language skill due to less talking in the home setting. We need to do all we can to make our eyes go to our children first.