Saturday, April 8, 2023

Eating in front of screens prevents children from speaking

Slowing language development in children:

Researchers from Enserem and the Center for Research in Epidemiology and Statistics (CRESS) discovered that permanently leaving the TV on during meals slows down language development in children.

Children ages 3 to 6 spend nearly two hours a day in front of screens. However, by following more than 1,500 children aged 2 to 5 years for several years, researchers from Enserm and the Center for Research in Epidemiology and Statistics (CRESS) discovered that this time is almost always spent in front of screens, more precisely in front of a television set, which Played during family meals, key moments in verbal exchange between adults and children, has an impact on language acquisition.

To measure these times and contexts of screen use, questionnaires were completed by parents of 1,562 children followed at ages 2, 3, and 5 1/2 years. As part of the study, the parents specifically provided information about the frequency with which the television was turned on while eating. For children’s screen time, only time spent in front of the TV, computer and video games was considered,” explain the researchers, whose study is published in the journal la revue nature. The children’s language assessment was conducted through questionnaires filled out by the parents when the children were two years old. , and then by psychologists when they were 3 and 5 and a half years old


At two years, children whose television was constantly on while eating had a lower language level than children who were not in front of the station. At ages 3 and 5 1/2 years, language ratings and verbal IQs were higher in children who were “never” exposed to television during family meals, compared to those who were “sometimes” or more.

Screens, a danger to the brain?

Already in 2019, a Canadian study of 2,500 two-year-olds raised the impact of screens on children's development. Researchers from the University of Calgary showed that children ages 2 to 3 who spent two to three hours a day staring at a screen performed worse on developmental screening tests later in childhood between ages 3 and 5. The researchers said communication, motor skills or the ability to solve problems, as well as social skills, can be affected.

These conclusions are all in line with another US study of 11,000 American children. Preliminary findings indicate that spending more than two hours a day in front of a screen can harm children's memory. After 7 hours a day, they experience premature thinning of the cerebral cortex, the seat of memory, language, or consciousness.