The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggested that parents limit TV consumption by children under two years of age. Their verdict: It’s not good, and probably bad.
Media, whether playing in the background or designed explicitly as an infant educational tool, has "potentially negative effects and no known positive effects for children younger than 2 years,” per the AAP report.
Studies have found that children don’t really understand what’s happening on a screen until they’re about 2 years old. Once they do, media can be good for them, but until then television is essentially a mesmerizing, glowing box.
Used at night, TV might help kids fall asleep, but that appears to come at a delayed cost of subsequent sleep disturbances and irregularities. While the result of TV-induced sleep problems hasn’t been directly studied, poor sleep in infants is generally linked to problems with mood, behavior and learning.
At other times, media consumption comes with opportunity costs, foremost among them the silence of parents. When the TV is on, people are not talking, which is extremely important for a child’s language development.
Even when media plays in the background, it distracts babies from play, an activity that is known to have deep developmental benefits. When parents are trying to carve out free time for themselves, turn the TV off and let kids entertain themselves.
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About this Study
Jacksonville Community Council Inc. (JCCI) is completing its latest community inquiry, Children 1-2-3: Early Learning for Future Success. This community engagement process has been examining the question, "How can Jacksonville best foster early learning success for children from birth to age 3 in our community?" Over the course of the process (October 2011 through April 2012), the meeting schedule, meeting summaries, key handouts and relevant articles have all been posted here. To find out more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.