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Kids' language skills hindered when parents check their phones, study finds

Matt Sayles/AP

Researchers know that strong language skills don’t just come from the quantity of words a kid hears, but also from the quality of interactions between parents and kids—the back and forth in a conversation.

Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, director of the Temple University Infant and Child Laboratory in Philadelphia, studies this issue, and found that one of the most common things that disrupts this back and forth is cellphones.

Hirsh-Pasek sat down with KPCC’s Devin Browne at the Simms/Mann Institute Think Tank to explain why.

Why language skills matter

Why cellphones can be so disruptive to language development

What about other kinds of interruptions?

What it all means