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Study Says Babies Who Play on iPads Might Have Speech Delays

A new study presented at the 2017 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting reveals that the more time children between the ages of 6 months and 2 years spent using handheld screens such as smartphones, tablets and electronic games, the more likely they were to experience speech delays.

CNN says this Canadian study may be the first to examine the role of mobile media and children’s communication delays.

The study found that every 30-minute increase in daily screen time was linked to a 49 percent increased risk of what the researchers call expressive speech delay — babies and toddlers using sounds and words. The study did not find any link between use of a handheld device and other areas of communication like gestures, body language and social interaction.

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Moreover, the amount of time young children in the United States spend with mobile screens has tripled in just four years. Children ages 8 and younger spent about 15 minutes a day staring at a mobile screen in 2013 and now they spend 48 minutes a day, according to the report by the nonprofit organization Common Sense Media.

The report also found that 42 percent of children 8 and younger now have their own tablet devices, a steep increase from seven percent four years ago and less than one percent in 2011. Mobile devices are now as common in the home as TVs — 98 percent of households with kids under eight have a mobile device.

And finally, a study by the Centers for Disease Control found that arise in teen suicides might be linked to social media use. CDC says suicide rates for teens rose between 2010 and 2015 after they had declined for nearly two decades. The CDC says the cause of this increase is unknown, but suggests that it’s possible social media use is playing a role. Some recent teen suicides may be blamed on cyber-bullying. Other teens say social media posts that depict “perfect” lives may be taking a toll on teens’ mental health. More research is needed to determine if the link is coincidental, or a cause-and-effect.

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