As a Pediatrician in Lexington, I see hundreds of patients each year. A new concern I have is how quiet my exam rooms are sometimes. The rooms are so much quieter because the kids, and the parents, are on electronic devices of all sorts. This trend has only recently surfaced in the last 4 to 5 years. If the room is quiet then several things are missing; talking and laughing among families and personal interaction of the human kind. I truly think this will become a big problem for babies. Many times I walk into an exam room and there is a baby in a carseat and a caregiver on the phone texting or playing a game. If this is happening frequently at home as well, then the baby is not hearing language. The first 2 years in a baby’s life is the most critical for learning love and language. I am particularly worried about these children over their young lives if they are not hearing language and missing out on human interaction when they are awake.
I read something recently that makes a great deal of sense; “Make your awake baby a Text Free Zone, just like your car.” So, next time you are with a young child, and particularly an infant, talk to them and put the electronics away.
Katrina Hood, M.D.