Dear Jacqui, Do you think that screen time is having a detrimental effect on children’s communication skills?

This is a really good question! We know that 10 percent of children have speech, language, and communication needs (SLCN) across the population regardless of screen time, and that there will also be a small percent of children who are robust with their skills no matter what. However, there will be a large number of children whose communication skills will be adversely affected by too much screen time, as well as the children with SLCN.  This is actually true for adults too and that is where we probably need to start – looking at ourselves and the example we are setting with all of the time we are devoting to our screens rather than people. Of course, screens make life a lot quicker and easier but we need to take time to slow down and enjoy real, connected moments with our children, families and friends. Children learn good social communication skills primarily within their family, and also at school i.e. their body language, the way they talk, conversational skills, assertiveness skills, friendship and interpersonal skills. These are lifelong skills for successful employment and relationships. Screens are here to stay and we need to learn how to live with them keeping them in their rightful place. We also need to guard all the good things about our unique human connections and activities that we do apart from screen time.