Study shows 40 percent of infants are regular TV watchers by the age of 3 months

Filed under: Development/Milestones: Babies, Media, That's Entertainment

I was really influenced by the recommendations that kids shouldn't watch television until they are two. I became one of those self-righteous anti-TV people, and I took a lot of flak for that whenever I mentioned television here or at my personal blog. I know everyone thinks I'm a snob. You don't need to remind me.

Now that my daughter is two, I do let her watch about 20 minutes of television a day. She isn't that interested in it, and that anti-TV guy in me doesn't want to encourage it. But a new study just released shows that I am definitely in a minority in my beliefs. The study by the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found that 40 percent of infants are regular television watchers by the time they are 3-months old. By the time they are 2 (the age that the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest parents start allowing their children to watch television) 90 percent of children are already regular television viewers. The study also showed that the TV is not being used as a "babysitter" to allow parents to get chores done or give attention to other kids, but that parents are actively seeking out television time for their toddlers because they believe television will "expand their minds, language skills and cognitive abilities." No study has ever been able to determine that television helps kids in those ways, but I have heard plenty of anecdotal evidence that it does.

A second study by the same entity determined that 14-year-olds who watch more than three hours of television a day are far more likely to "have a negative attitude toward school, skip homework and to have trouble paying attention" than kids who watch one hour a day or less. Kids who watch 3 or more hours are also less likely to go to college.

One recommendation from the study was resounding: parents shouldn't let kids have televisions in their room at any age.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.