Experts: too much tech hurting kids’ communication skills

("HTC HD& 8" by Osman Kalkavan, CC BY-SA 2.0)

 INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WOWO): Smartphones and tablets make communicating easy in some ways, but experts warn there may be consequences for youngsters.

The biggest concern of speech pathologists is that excessive technology use is replacing conversation and human interaction, according to a new poll from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. When kids are on devices, said Dr. Ann Kummer, senior director of speech-language pathology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, they’re not only missing out on verbal interaction but also physical language.

“What’s most important in communication development and also in the development of relationships is direct communication, which means that you look at each other, you have eye contact, you laugh together,” she said, “and that is not well done through devices.”

A majority of speech-language pathologists in the poll said they believe the overuse of technology could cause irreversible damage to the communication skills of future generations. During Better Hearing and Speech Month in May, they are encouraging parents to model safe technology use and set reasonable parameters for their children.

Technology isn’t bad, Kummer said, but the key is moderation. She said nothing can replace what a child can learn through communicating person to person.

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