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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

I *knew* it!

I came across this article :TV Causes Learning Lag in Infants (Live Science) By J. Bryner

In it, they talk to Dimitri Christakis who recently published a paper on the negative affect TV viewing has on young developing minds...
I quote a bit to summarize the interview article:

"... the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages TV watching before the age of 2, a time when critical development, such as language aquisition occurs. (Christakis said a baby's brain triples in size during the first two years of life, so there's a lot going on in that little noggin.)
To figure out the TV-language link, Christakis and his colleagues rounded up 329 2-month to 4-year-old children and their parents. The kids wore digital devices on random days each month for up to two years that recorded everything they heard or said for 12 to 16 hours....Analyses of the recordings revealed that each hour of additional
television exposurewas linked with a decrease of 770 words (7 percent) the child heard from an adult during the recording session. Hours of television were also associated with a decrease in the number and length of child volcalizations the back and forth between the child and an adult (called a conversational turn). "

they concluded that: ""Some of these reductions are likely due to children being left alone in front of the television screenbut others likely reflect situations in which adults, though present, are distracted by the screen and not interacting with their infant in a discernible manner."
And interaction is key for baby's brain."


They were concerned. Why? Well "hearing adults speak and being spoken to are critical exposures that play a role in infants development in language". With 30 percent of households having televisions on all the time, the researchers wondered how many fewer opportunities there were for children and parents to communicate and socialize". Christakis recommended that children under the age of 2 be discouraged from watching TV, even if the TV show is intended for the adults, as the effect is the same.

So there ya have it - keep their little brains occupied with other stuff! The article is: Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. 163(6):554-558, June 2009 if you want to check out the nitty gritty. It's just another bit of proof for me that kids should playand ignore the TV...and so should adults :)

3 comments:

Magnus said...

I completely missed that, the game is on.

the Bag Lady said...

This explains so much. I have seen several children lately of varying ages. Even accounting for the differences attributed to different rates of learning, the 3-year old who has not been exposed to much television was far easier to understand than the 4 1/2 year old from a different family.

Pacian said...

I like that they take care to explain that it isn't the television itself somehow emitting un-learning rays, but the culture of staring at a gogglebox instead of interacting with your children that's the issue.