To Screen or Not to Screen

Encourage and support your kids; because children are apt to live up to what you believe of them. – Lady Bird Johnson

Sometimes nothing seems easier at the end of a long, hard day than popping in a movie for the kids, and basking in the peace & quiet. We’ve all been there – a terrible day at work, the kids’ inability to agree who gets to be which Paw Patrol character, a silent waiting room, the 10-hour road trip to grandmas – screen time is often the 21st century parent’s go-to, for obvious reasons!

But do you know about the risks associated with early visual media usage? 

Based on numerous studies, screen time has been linked to everything from obesity, increased rates of aggression, to sleep degradation. The less exposure to visual media (games, television, movies, etc) that a child has, the better they tend to score on assessments of social skills, impulse control, organization/planning, delayed gratification, emotional intelligence, and memory.

On average, children under five are viewing screens for 4.5-5.5 hours per day; but considering that most in that age group are awake less than 12 hours a day – screens represent more than 45% of their waking hours.

This age group is particulary vulnerable to the negative effects screen time produces – and new studies have shown that ‘for each 30-minute increase in handheld screen time [for youth under 2…], there is a 49% increased risk of expressive speech delay’.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends zero screen time for children under two, and two hours of high-quality material for all children above; further guidelines are:

  • For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they’re seeing.
  • For children ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.
  • For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health. 
  • Designate media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms.
  • Have ongoing communication about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and offline.

These guidelines are of course the gold standard for a child’s health, but they might not be realistic for all of us, every single day, or any day! Included below, are some of our favorite resources here at SpeechRighter, for educating yourself on media-effects, and learning how to help make your home more media-healthy.

  1. Media & Young Minds | American Academy of Pediatrics
  2. Media & School Aged Children (5-18) | American Academy of Pediatrics
  3. Resources for Screen Free Parenting – Including fun guides, alternative activity ideas, and more. 
  4. Common Sense Media | Great parent & educator resource for great media sources for kids, how to make media healthier for families, common caregiver concerns, and more. 

Common Sense Media | Healthy Media How-To’s


Learning More Than One Language


I am often asked about the implications or effects of learning a second language on typical language development.  I want to share this information published by the American Speech Language Hearing Association on the advantages, process and realities of learning more than one language simultaneously.  The great news as you suspected is that our brains are wired for language acquisition.  We have an innate ability to learn the rules and sounds  by exposure, modeling and matching.  The skills to acquire a single language are easily  transferable to a second language, and if the sound system is similar the process is made easier.  The caveat, however, is that if there is a delay or disorder in acquiring the first language, those same issues will be present for the second language.  Should you limit your child’s exposure to the second language?  Absolutely not, the benefits are just too valuable.

As always, please contact me if you have any question – Cris




Every individual is unique. Development of more than one language depends on the type and amount of input you receive in all languages. It is important to understand that the process of learning a second language is NOT a language disorder.

The Advantages of Being Bilingual
Most children have the capacity and facility to learn more than one language.

Learning Two Languages
Find out more about when a child learns more than one language.

Second Language Acquisition
Learn more about the process of learning a language after already speaking another language.

Accent Modification
See information about services that a client may seek to improve difficulty communicating because of his or her accent.


Development: Steve Lienhard & Melody Sharp

Join Our Mailing List

Receive newsletters and blog posts about current speech-language issues, resources and other fun stuff.