by Virginia B. Hargrove
While experts have known for some time that TV isn't the best "babysitter" for your kids, three studies that have been tracking educational television use and language development since 1999, have confirmed a link between increased TV time and developmental delays. In plain English, the more TV a baby watches, the deeper the long-term effects seem to appear.
We've published pieces similar to this ground-breaking news, but this is the first time the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) has officially suggested that parents should limit the amount of TV watched by children under two-years-old.
While the research is still ongoing, the official release states that the verdict for babies watching television, videos or any other passive media form is not good, and "probably bad."
According to the AAP report released October 18, 2011, even media playing in the background or that is specifically an educational tool could, "have potentially negative effects and no known positive effects for children younger than 2 years." They go on to say that, "although infant/toddler programming might be entertaining, it should not be marketed as or presumed by parents to be educational."
You might be scratching your head, saying to yourself, "What gives? What about all those videos we're convinced to buy?"
The AAP has an answer for that too.
Since the AAP's original recommendation in 1999, we have more media surrounding us day by day. Televisions, DVD players, computers, streaming video is the norm, rather than the exception. In fact, the average 12-month old (yep you read that right) gets between one to two hours of screen time per day. This includes all those lovely tablets and iPads we covet! Sadly, the 0 to 2 year age group is a growing and prime target for commercial educational planning.
According to Patti M. Valkenburg from the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), University of Amsterdam, the studies found that children don't understand what's happening on the screen until they are at least 2 years old. Until they reach that age, babies will stare at the TV as if it is sucking in their brains.
Ari Brown, a pediatrician and member of the AAP committee that wrote the new report, says, "The way these kids' programs came out was, 'These are really educational! They’re going to help your kids learn!' Well that's great, but prove it. Show me the science," Brown said. "I don’t have a problem with touch screens, and they're not necessarily bad. But we need to understand how this affects kids."
The research as barely started on the iPads and other kid-friendly devices. It will be interesting to see what the AAP has to say then! Weigh in on the topic and tell us what you think in the comments!
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