I just wanted to take the opportunity to respond to another report in a newspaper:
Head teachers have accurately said that parents shouldn't check their phones when their children are talking to them, as this can make sure they feel important and valued.
Why is this so important?
Communication is a two way interaction between people, children need to have the opportunity to interact with people that will listen to them; and respond to their questions and comments about the world around them. This will help them to learn how to communicate and use language skills that are appropriate and expected by others i.e. turn taking, listening attentively etc.; and also why we communicate i.e. for our needs and wants to be met.
Realistically can this be done if mum or dad or, our child’s carers spend a large proportion of this valuable time texting, responding to emails, accessing social media etc. Previously, a large impact on a child’s speech, language and communication was the effect of ‘wallpaper television’ i.e. the television being on constantly in the background, impacting on effective interaction and communication between children and adults. Today, I think another challenge is the mobile phone, as this can be taken anywhere.
What affect can mobile phones have on effective communication?
· Reduces the time spent talking to each other, face to face
· Reduces vocabulary expanding opportunities
· Reduces effective modelling of social interaction skills i.e. listening attentively to the speaker, turn taking, ending conversations appropriately etc.
· Reduces opportunities for parent-child interaction, affecting the quality and quantity of that interaction
· Prevents good eye contact
· You may not be aware of non-verbal communication i.e. pointing, body language, gestures; your child may be using to support his/her communication
Fortunately, I have not come across many parents in my pre-school language groups who regularly access their phones rather than join in with the session. However, I do know that many of my colleagues have. So if you work with parents and their children, think about talking to them about the use of mobile phones and the impact it can have on their children’s speech, language and communication skills.