New TV Network Created for Babies & Naive Parents

baby first tvThis weekend I was trying to figure out how to set my DVR to catch some new fall television when I stumbled across one of those trial period offers on my Dish guide. Apparently yesterday was my last day to take advantage of a cable channel called "Baby First TV" for free. Which means, of course, that if I were to decide that television is a fantastic idea for my baby, I'd have to pay for it.

I'll be the first to admit that my 2-year-old watched more than his fair share of Sesame Street and Olivia thanks to having an older sister, but had he been the firstborn, television wouldn't exactly have been on my list of firsts, alongside bath, tooth, and steps. Is it on anyone's? And why is a television station trying to convince parents that it should be?


The American Academy of Pediatrics maintains that television under the age of 2 is not recommended. They especially decry shows that are specifically designed for babies, so I'm guessing an entire pay network would not float their boat. There still has not been any known benefit for babies who are shown television shows specifically designed for them. Yet, DVDs and networks like this one say they are designed by developmental experts. Even though experts agree that children under 2 shouldn't watch any television -- at all.

Again, I'm not knocking television. I love my housewives, and I couldn't help but show my daughter Teletubbies when she was about a year old. Mostly because I wanted to see the trippy foursome myself, and maybe figure out of Tinky Winky really was gay. (Side note -- still not sure.) But regularly plopping your kid down in front of a television show or network because you believe it's good for them (because they told you it was) is not a good idea. In fact, it's a pretty bad one.

Reading, playing, talking, and just being with your baby is a far better teacher than a television screen. Sure we all need a break, and if that means Elmo talks to your 15-month-old, then let him entertain her for awhile. But do not believe that these specially designed "baby" TV shows are helpful. There has been zero proof thus far of any benefit for your baby in watching these shows. So far the only benefit is to the bank accounts of those who develop baby television and convince new parents that they need to buy it.

Do you let your baby watch TV?


Image via bryan anthony/Flickr

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