Screen Time Crisis: Bulgarian Children Struggle with Speech

Health |Author: Diana Kavardzhikova | March 6, 2024, Wednesday // 10:44|  views


Speech therapists from Varna note an increasing prevalence of issues concerning children's speech development in recent times, BNT reported. They attribute this trend to the widespread use of electronic devices such as TVs, phones, and tablets from a very young age. This usage hampers the proper development of speech and comprehension skills in children, leading to a lack of motivation to communicate. Such characteristics are also observed in children within the autism spectrum.

In their professional experience, speech therapists increasingly come across what they refer to as “screen children” - youngsters who spend extended periods with various electronic devices. Over time, this behavior evolves into an addiction for these children.

“For children who are given access to electronic devices such as televisions, mobile phones, or laptops, it's common to have these screens constantly on somewhere in the house. Apart from the lack of educational value from these screens, changes in behavior are also observed in such children. When a person, especially a developing child, is left alone with a device at this age, there comes a moment when they feel no need to communicate with others. They fail to develop their social skills”, Liliana Lazarova, a speech therapist, stated in an interview with BNT.

Ralitsa - the mother of six-year-old Alexandra, firmly believes that children should combine the use of electronic technologies with reading books. “I allow her to use technology to the extent that is normal for her age; I don't think it harms her development in any way. However, we also engage in many other activities at home. She has a huge collection of age-appropriate books in the library. After all, it's the generation we live in. We can't completely forbid them from using technology”, shared Ralitsa, the mother of six-year-old Alexandra.

Parents express that it's challenging for children to entirely restrict themselves from electronic devices. They emphasize the significance of utilizing them in moderation and within designated time frames.

“She's a year and a half old, and she already handles the remote control better than him, maybe. I try to limit their use as much as possible, but when she sees that her dad is watching, she wants to as well. At least we don't give them phones or tablets; there's one phone that doesn't have internet, only photos, so she can take pictures”, said Evgenia Ivanova.

A child's speech undergoes rapid development, particularly between the ages of one and two, and by the age of four, it should be utilized as a primary means of communication. Experts suggest that in recent times, parents tend to undervalue communication with their children, making it more challenging for them to naturally develop their speech abilities.

Liliana Lazarova, a speech therapist, explained: “We should convince these parents that it's better to dedicate half an hour to communicate with their child. They should replace the phone with books, which are abundantly available on the market - with pictures and basic texts. They should spend about ten minutes reading to them. Auditory attention is also crucial in speech development, and later, in literacy”.

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Tags: speech, devices, children, communication


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