Home Advocacy Summer Screen Time: Parent Fears and Tips to Help

Summer Screen Time: Parent Fears and Tips to Help

by Francine Pierson
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Father reading a book to his daughter while lying on the floor in bedroom

By now, it’s pretty well established that just about everyone is using their smartphones, tablets and other popular technology devices a lot. And that this includes everyone from toddlers (and younger!) to adults. But what is all this screen time taking time away from, in the day-to-day lives of children?

According to the results of a new national YouGov poll commissioned by ASHA and Read Aloud 15 MINUTES, released this week as summer officially begins . . .

  • 43-percent of parents of children ages birth to 8 years said popular technology devices are a barrier/distraction to daily conversation and interaction between themselves and their children.
  • 54 percent said they “sometimes,” “often” or “very often” ask their children to put down their devices to increase parent/child interaction. Among parents of children ages birth to 2 years, 37 percent reported this to be the case. The proportions jumped to 58 percent and 67 percent among parents with children ages 3–5 and 6–8 years, respectively.
  • 34-percent of parents said popular tech devices take away reading time for their child. Twenty-six percent of parents of children ages birth to 2 years said this is the case; the figures increase to 37 percent and 40 percent among parents with children ages 3–5 years and 6–years, respectively.

Given what communication sciences and disorders professionals know about the importance of daily conversation, interaction and reading for communication development and academic success, these results show areas for improvement.

Along with the polling results, ASHA and Read Aloud provide some easy tips to share with parents to help their kids find balance, including a summer “Digital Diet” to ensure that children’s tech time doesn’t skyrocket during summer, tips for fun non-tech activities all season long, and more. Note that, as always, this does not include AAC devices.

Francine Pierson is an ASHA public relations manager . fpierson@asha.org.

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