77 percent of Parents UseTech Devices as a Solution for Bored Kids

A recent survey by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) finds that 77 percent of parents use tech devices as a solution for bored kids. As summer vacation quickly approaches, many kids and adults will be on tech devices more than usual so before you hand your kid an ipad to entertain them during a long road trip, parents should consider the health risks tech use can have on their kids' ability to communicate. Such risks include hearing loss, which impedes communication, academic and social success, and interference with speech and language development.

In response to these findings, ASHA has created five easy steps to help parent’s manage their kids’ technology use this summer.

  1. Make the Most of Summer Car Trips: Hitting the road? Resist the urge to immediately hand kids their devices. Instead, play car games, talk (about anything!), or sing along to music together.
  2. Host a Tech-Free Event: Barbeques, pool parties, baseball games… summer lends itself to an endless number of fun group activities. Forget the selfies and social media updates and consider making some of these events tech-free. Bring a bag to collect everyone’s phone. Not only will everyone survive, but most will likely enjoy being liberated from their devices for a few hours.
  3. Take a Vacation from Your Technology: Everyone may not be willing (or able) to take a full week off from their technology, but consider leaving devices behind at specific times during your vacation. Pick a beach day where the phone is off limits, or keep the phones in the glove compartment for a day at the amusement park. Even short periods of device-free time can provide meaningful benefits for families. 
  4. Find Other (Creative) Things to Do: Start a summer book or cooking club for neighborhood kids, have kids keep a summer journal, go on family “field trips” (take turns picking an outing), take up a new hobby together. These activities are not only fun and promote family bonding, but can contribute to building language and literacy skills in kids.
  5. Dial the Volume Down on Devices: Some device time is probably inevitable, so make sure kids are practicing safe listening. Ask them to keep the volume turned to half and take listening breaks to protect their hearing for a lifetime. This is especially important when using devices with earbuds or headphones. These are simple prevention messages kids need to “hear” from their parents.

Additional materials and information and the full survey results are available at betterhearingandspeechmonth.org.