Television and Babies

June 14, 2009 at 2:18 am 1 comment

baby-televisionWatching television is not a healthy activity for your infant or tot, according to pediatric researcher Dimitri Christakis, who has extensively studied this topic.  In a longitudinal study, Christakis and his team of researchers from the University of Washington measured early TV exposure at the ages of both one and three.  They found that early television exposure is associated with attentional problems at age seven.  These findings agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that parents exercise caution in letting their children under the age of two years watch television. Christakis’ study is a wakeup call to parents who are not familiar with the long-term side effects of TV viewing on their children.  The problem may be that this passive activity discourages infant-parent interaction and dialogue that is the key factor that builds the brain and improves language development.  Think about it, if you as a parent are spending time watching TV, then you are not talking and playing as much with your little one during a period of critical brain development.

Joseph Chilton Pearce, a very respected  educator, has long written about the fact that television watching harms the infant-child brain as it prevents neural growth, overly stimulates the child, limits his attention span, interferes with needed kinesthetic and sensory processing and discourages fantasy and pretend play. Other television research studies reveal that obesity is also caused by passive substitutes for active play. These studies also suggest that educational DVDs for infants may not have the educational value that has been claimed.  Please turn your TV off and play with your baby if you care about his developmental and emotional well-being.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Gloria DeGaetano  |  June 14, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Thank you so much for getting the accurate word to out to parents of young children. Researchers such as Christakis, over the years have received blitzes of media attention, but then in the daily decisions parents make they are so pressured by the inaccurate information promoted by our marketing culture (such as that Baby Einstein videos are good for babies) that they cannot make the best decisions for their children. It’s not their fault as moms and dads can only make decisions based on the knowledge they have. I so appreciate you giving them this important information. Our children’s future, indeed, the very future of our society, depends on it!

    Reply

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