CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Some family activities have become limited during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a divide at home.
“I'm fed up with it because I didn’t want him to just be drawn to it and become a zombie, so I started to pull him out of the house more as much as I could,” said Lorenzo Landi.
Speech and Language pathologist Marci Melzer says at least half of the parents she advises have experienced tech addiction in their homes. She says more families are seeing their kids refuse to listen and interact.
“Instead of focusing on listening and observing those around them talking," Melzer said. "And that is why they are late talking."
Health Direct.gov outlines speech development in children. By 12 months, a baby's first words usually appear. However, at any age, Melzer says kids need interaction.
"I’ll hold up a picture and be like hey what’s this," Landi said. "Oh, it's a cat. Can you spell cat?”
Melzer says a problem can develop in a child who doesn't speak by the time they are a year old, leading to a misdiagnosis of autism.
“It's a mistake for parents to start googling and taking kids for diagnosis and dropping them off and signing them up for all these therapies,” she said.
Melzer advises people to take more of an active role.
“All they need is two to three hours of real good, conscious interaction with their child." says Melzer.
There are ways to move kids out of tech addiction habits using technology for content that is going to help them, she added.
"First thing that always helps kids use content for elevation of skills and learning new things, is involving your child in the content," Melzer said. "And that means making them the subject of it; so filming videos of themselves and watching videos of themselves or them creating the content.
"It takes away the addictive junk viewing and turns the whole process into learning so that’s a wonderful thumbs up tech habit."
Melzer offers multiple resources to empower parents to become their child language facilitator.
You can watch her YouTube channel, Waves of Communication.
To take a look at her website click here.