Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Digital Devices Use and Language Skills in Children Between 8-36 Month

Version 1 : Received: 1 August 2020 / Approved: 3 August 2020 / Online: 3 August 2020 (11:39:57 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Operto, F.F.; Pastorino, G.M.G.; Marciano, J.; de Simone, V.; Volini, A.P.; Olivieri, M.; Buonaiuto, R.; Vetri, L.; Viggiano, A.; Coppola, G. Digital Devices Use and Language Skills in Children between 8 and 36 Month. Brain Sci. 2020, 10, 656. Operto, F.F.; Pastorino, G.M.G.; Marciano, J.; de Simone, V.; Volini, A.P.; Olivieri, M.; Buonaiuto, R.; Vetri, L.; Viggiano, A.; Coppola, G. Digital Devices Use and Language Skills in Children between 8 and 36 Month. Brain Sci. 2020, 10, 656.

Journal reference: Brain Sci. 2020, 10, 656
DOI: 10.3390/brainsci10090656

Abstract

Background: Over the past decade, the use of digital tools has grown and research evidence suggests that traditional media and new media offer both benefits and health risks for young children. The abilities to understand and use language represent two of the most important competencies developed during the first 3 years of life through the interaction of the child with people, objects, events, and other environmental factors. The main goal of our study is to evaluate the relationship between digital devices use and language abilities in children between 8-36 month, considering also the influence of several variables. Materials and Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional observational study on 260 healthy children (140 males = 54%) aged between 8-36 months (mean=23.5±7.18 months). All the parents completed a self-report questionnaire investigating the use of digital devices by their children, and a standardized questionnaire for the assessment of language skills (MacArthur). Multiple linear regression was used to evaluate the relationship between different variables. Subsequent moderation analysis were performed to verify the influence of other factors. Results: W found a statistically significant negative correlation between the total daily time of exposure to digital devices and the Actions and Gestures Quotient (ß=-0.397) in children between 8-17 months, and between the total daily time of exposure to digital devices and Language Quotient (ß=-0.224) in children between 18-36 months. Sex, level of education/job of parents, modality of use/content of digital device do not significantly affect these relationships. Conclusion: In our study we found that a longer time of exposure to digital devices was related to lower mimic-gestural skills in children from 8-17 months and to lower language skills in children between 18-36 months, regardless of age, sex, socio-economic status, content and modality of use. Further studies are needed to confirm and better understand this relationship, but parents and pediatricians are advised to limit the use of digital devices by children and encourage the social interaction to support the learning of language and communication skills in this age group.

Subject Areas

digital devices; digital media; toddler; children; language abilities

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