Is it OK for My Baby to Watch TV?

As a New York Times bestselling author and developmental molecular biologist, John Medina gives extensive research based information on the controversial topic TV as it relates to health and happy children.  In his book “Brain Rules for Baby” he says “The fact is, the amount of TV a child should watch before the age of 2 is zero.”

He goes on to say, “For decades we have known of the connection between hostile peer interactions and the amount of kids’ exposure to television.  The linkage used to be controversial (maybe aggressive people watch more TV than others?), but we now see that it’s an issue of our deferred imitation abilities coupled with a loss of impulse control.”

Deferred imitation is the ability to reproduce a behavior, after only witnessing it once.  For example a 13 month old girl can remember an event a week after it happened.  At a year and a half, she can imitate an event for months after a single exposure.  “This is something the advertising industry has known for decades”, says Medina.

He says that TV can lead to hostility and trouble focusing. “For each hour of TV watched daily by children under age 4, the risk increased 9 percent that they would engage in bullying behavior by the time they started school.  This is poor emotional regulation at work.” He says that “American Association of Pediatrics estimates that 10 percent to 20 percent of real-life violence can be attributed to exposure to media violence.”  Wow.

The American Association of Pediatrics issued a recommendation that says: Although certain television may be promoted to kids under the age of 2, studies show that babies and toddlers have a critical need for direct interactions with caregivers for healthy brain development.

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