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New Guide for Prospective and New Parents Helps Them Be Tech Wise With Baby

Resource From ASHA, Children’s Screen Time Action Network Focuses on a Critical But Often Overlooked Period in Screen Time Guidance: Babies’ First Year of Life

October 5, 2020

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Note: View a multimedia version of this press release.

(Rockville, MD) A new resource designed specifically for expectant and new parents is aiming to help families cultivate healthy screen time habits—for their child and for parents/caregivers while around their child—from the day baby is born. Developed by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and Children’s Screen Time Action NetworkBe Tech Wise With Baby! is uniquely tailored to an often overlooked but critical period when it comes to screen time advice: a baby’s first year of life.

Released in conjunction with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ virtual 2020 Annual Meeting and Exhibition, October 2–5, the free Be Tech Wise With Baby! [PDF] patient education handout is well suited for pediatrician, OB-GYN, and other medical offices and outpatient therapy clinics; libraries; day care centers; and all other settings that provide information for new parents and caregivers.

Be Tech Wise With Baby! covers

  • how to boost baby’s brain development and communication skills from birth;
  • ways that screen use by babies—and their caregivers—can impact a child’s healthy development; and
  • tips for creating a home environment that sets baby up for optimal growth.

“The welfare of older children, from toddlers to teenagers, has been a regular focus of concerns about screen time—but we cannot overlook babies who are at their most critical stage of development,” said Theresa H. Rodgers, MA, CCC-SLP, 2020 ASHA President. “Right from birth, infants are growing their brains, forming social connections, and learning language and communication through daily interactions with parents and caregivers.

“We want families to know how important dedicated screen-free time is for everyone in the household, to provide an optimal environment for babies to thrive and set a strong foundation for their brain development and communication skills,” she continued. 

According to Mark Bertin, MD, a developmental pediatrician involved in the project and author of How Children Thrive, “New parents have so much to consider, and they may not be thinking about how to manage screens around baby. However, how adults use their devices while spending time with baby is critical. Studies have shown parents speak less words when using a smartphone, and looking down at a device makes it harder to notice and respond to baby’s smiles, sounds, and other subtle communication attempts.

“I urge my fellow pediatricians to share Be Tech Wise With Baby! with their patients. It offers suggestions for basic parameters that new parents can establish, such as tech-free spaces in the home or unplugged times of day, to set their child up for success while also taking into account the realistic needs for parents to be connected for their own work, social life, and more,” he said.

Download Be Tech Wise With Baby! for free, in English [PDF] and Spanish [PDF]. 

For more information on children’s communication development, visit ASHA’s Identify the Signs campaign at www.IdentifytheSigns.org. For more on children’s screen time use, visit www.screentimenetwork.org

About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)

ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 211,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems, including swallowing disorders.

The Children’s Screen Time Action Network (Action Network) is a coalition of practitioners, educators, and advocates working to promote a healthy childhood by reducing the amount of time kids spend with digital devices. The Action Network is a project of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. www.screentimenetwork.org/


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