Updated Recommendations About Limiting TV for Children
Wednesday, October 26th, 2011
Do not be fooled by advertisements claiming that TV programs or video games are “educational”. About two years behind the French, the American Academy of Pediatrics has just released new warnings about allowing young children to watch TV. “Screen time”, time spent in front of TVs, computers, and video games, offers no educational value to children under the age of 2. On the contrary, it detracts from the children’s ability to engage in age appropriate play and explore the environment.
On October 18, 2011, the New York Times reported that a recent survey found that 90% of parents reportedly allow their children under the age of 2 to watch some form of media.
A recent publication in the journal Pediatrics estimated that for every 1 hour a child is exposed to media, 50 minutes less is spent playing with a parent, and 10% less time engaged in play.
Note that children under the age of 2 are in the midst of a critical period of language development. Children pick up and understand language best when it comes from another person, face-to-face. They do not learn language from videos and TV.
While the American Academy of Pediatrics acknowledged that media is ubiquitous nowadays and many parents rely on screen time for a much-needed break throughout the day, it is incumbent upon parents to limit the amount of screen time children will be permitted.
Furthermore, parents are cautioned against leaving the TV on in the background, since it has been found that it is overly distracting to both children and parents.