TV: A Source of Language Delay?
The debate over video distractions is far from over. The New York Times summarizes the latest from researchers:
From the article:
"I like to call it secondhand TV," said Dr. Brown, who is the lead author of the guidelines.
Studies cited in the guidelines say that parents interact less with children when the television is on, and that a young child at play will glance at the TV -- if it is on, even in the background -- three times a minute.
"When the TV is on, the parent is talking less," Dr. Brown said. "There is some scientific evidence that shows that the less talk time a child has, the poorer their language development is."
Though about 50 studies have been done in the past decade on media viewing by young children, none have followed heavy television watchers into later childhood or adulthood, so any long-term effects are not known. Heavy media use in a household is defined as one in which the television is on all or most of the time.
The pediatrics group's guidelines point out that research to date suggests a "correlation between television viewing and developmental problems, but they cannot show causality."
Even so-called educational videos do not benefit children under 2 because they are too young to be able to understand the images on the screen, the doctors' group said.
"The educational merit of media for children younger than 2 years remains unproven despite the fact that three-quarters of the top-selling infant videos make explicit or implicit educational claims," it said.