Paediatric professionals would advise under 4’s should be kept well away from all such devices, as this is the vital period for speech and imagination development.
School teachers I have talked to have noticed a sharp reduction in the vocabulary and the attention spans of primary school children; they put this down to children and other family members being absorbed in electronic devices.
In the UK they have recorded a 58% increase in the number of under 5s with delayed speech which is termed ‘word poverty’. In some areas of the UK, 50% of children begin school without the ability to speak properly; this leads to long-term learning difficulties. In extreme cases, children as young as four are becoming so addicted to smartphones and iPads that they require psychological treatment. Even when iPads are used for ‘’educational’’ purposes the effect on a child’s development will be negative.
In Ireland speech and language therapists have also noted a deterioration in speech development in our children caused by elder siblings, parents and others being so preoccupied with their electronic devices they have less time for conversation. In the UK the problem has got so bad, a “Say hello to your children’’ campaign has been launched.