Tuesday, May 5, 2009

This is your Baby's Brain . . . on TV

Article by Meredith Whitmore
Published May 4, 2009

This is an excerpt from an article found on this website: Plugged In Online.

Most parents of small children tackle daily dilemmas—including but not limited to finding time to shower, get dressed and eat two uninterrupted bites of a sandwich. So simple things like The Wiggles and Baby Einstein can feel like lifeguards throwing flotation devices into a raging sea. Twenty minutes of TV time for a tyke can feel like a 20-hour personal retreat for his parents. Mom or Dad gets the kind of time-out that isn't designed for people less than three feet tall.

But beyond getting a breather, when many parents place Junior in front of a television set, they're also striving to do the right thing for his education. Since DVDs and TV programming cover such topics as foreign languages, vocabulary, fine art and classical music, how can babies not become mini geniuses? Learning shapes and colors the old-fashioned way looks banal by comparison!

In fact, parents believe TV is such an effective tutor that 40 percent of 3-month-old babies are watching about an hour of it every day in this country. And by the time they're 2, almost 90 percent of children are spending two to three hours a day in front of a screen.

Solder the Red Wire Here
In light of these statistics, then, it's shocking to hear harsh truth: The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents not to allow any television viewing for children ages 2 and younger—regardless of content. To quote their policy statement, "Although certain television programs may be promoted to this age group, research on early brain development shows that babies and toddlers have a critical need for direct interactions with parents and other significant caregivers for healthy brain growth and the development of appropriate social, emotional and cognitive skills." . . .

Finish reading the article, by clicking here.

If you don't want to read the whole article, here's the ending of it. I recommend reading the whole thing though.

. . . Does this mean that parents who decide to let Sissy watch Dora the Explorer while they shower are dooming her to a life of failure? Thankfully, no. But if screen time is a habitual, time-consuming activity, its effects become riskier. And if parents want an expert's viewing guidelines, Dr. Christakis allows his own children, ages 8 and 11, three hours of TV per week and a movie night on Fridays.

Here's a final thing to consider: In the 1970s, the average age for children to start watching television was 4 years. Today it's 4 months. In a brave new world of children's media interaction, we have yet to see the lasting effects of their screen-time diet.


  1. Wow--thanks for sharing the article. Good to know!

  2. You know, I've actually tried to be one of those parents that gets things done while Hallie watches Baby Einstein or whatever, and for me, the activity is napping! But my little girl must be smarter than me or something, because usually she refuses to go for it. She wants to play!!! Thanks for sharing this article, this will make me appreciate her enthusiasm to interact with me more!

  3. I'm glad you guys liked the article.

  4. As a note to everyone, I did not share this article to make anyone who does have the kids watch TV feel guilty about it. I just thought the article was interesting and good food for thought.

  5. Wow... I was all for the Baby Einstein videos. Who knew? My question is, how am I supposed to shower?

  6. wow. that's so interesting! looks like it's thing #1,003,477 my mom was right about. :) funny how those come up the longer you live.

  7. I don't think it would hurt your baby to watch TV while you shower. I just shower when Jeff is home or when she is sleeping. When she's older and doesn't sleep as much, I'll have to shower at night after she goes to sleep or really early before she wakes up. Or, I'll just have to get used to hearing her cry. ;) Some moms I know let their babies in the shower with them and get two birds with one stone. (Kill seemed too harsh.) I don't know if I'm that good at multitasking though.


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