TV Makes Babies Stupid


watching tv bad for babies

Is T.V. helping or hurting your baby?

Does your baby watch television? Probably. In 1971, the average age at which children began to watch T.V. was four; today it's five months old. Yet a recent report, which is based on a compilation of 78 studies done over 25 years, says T.V. isn't such a good idea for children under the age of two. And get this: The research shows that television is bad for your baby even if he is watching only educational programs.

Infant T.V. viewing is associated with delayed language acquisition (for each hour of baby DVDs that infants watch they know six to eight fewer words), shortened attention spans, poorer reading and memory skills, and delayed brain development.

The makers of Baby Einstein, Baby Genius, and Brainy Baby disagree with the studies.

Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrician and professor at the University of Washington, says he doesn't blame parents for thinking they're doing something good for their babies by letting them watch these programs. "It's a beautiful thing for parents to believe [they're educational] because it really hits the sweet spot," he says. "You can take time for yourself and your child is getting smarter sitting there and not demanding your attention. But like many things that sound too good to be true, this is yet one more."

A few weeks ago, I did a poll Does Your Baby Watch T.V.? Ninety-one percent of you said yes; 46 percent said yes, but only shows that are specifically for kids.

What do you think about the findings of these studies? Will you still let your baby watch T.V.?

activities, development & growth


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

Cal311 Cal311

i let my 2 yr old watch backyardigans twice a day and jeopardy which he loves.


Until this past week, my daughter only ever saw the news and sports on tv.  However, I had to bend my rules last week when she was hospitalized and needed something to do with her for 5 days while she was on an iv and oxygen.  Now that we are home, she could care less about it.  I also turned the tv off after she learned "mine" from Yo Gabba Gabba - it was an episode about sharing.

My husband and I made a decision before she was born to limit tv until at least the age of 2 based on APA recomendations

Cafe... Cafe Suzanne

NHGal - I am so sorry to hear your little one was in the hospital. I hope she is doing better.

Lanasmom Lanasmom

Dd really didn't watch tv until she was 1 -- she only watches Curious George---and i do think its educational--she's very smart for 2.

Poiso... PoisonousBlonde

My 2 year old pays no attention to the TV, she's to "busy".

justa... justanotherjen

My 2yo watched TV all day (Noggin and other stuff) and has been since she turned 1 and has been speaking in complete sentences since she was 18 months and now speaks like a 3yo and is smart as a whip.  She sings and dances along with the shows and can explain the plots of everything.

All mykids watched TV as toddlers and all are smart.  The TV was always on when they were babies but we never watched specific stuff for babies (like Baby Einstein).  They watched it if the colors caught their attention but mostly ignored it until they were like 1 1/2.

jms124 jms124

My almost 3 year old, Connor, has a great vocabulary and my 13 month old, Chloe, even says a few words.  Connor was never a TV baby until I started staying home.  He'd watch cartoons with my 5 year old cousin and just started liking them.  We watch Playhouse Disney, Nick Jr, Noggin, etc.  I need the background noise, so the TV goes on.  He'll watch a few minutes of it, then play. 

Actually, the TV is how we found out Connor has vision problems.  He's was a preemie and is actually advance in many things, language included (according to this doctor).

Laura... LauraMohip

Everything in moderation, some cartoons to wind down before nap, or so Mommy can pee and get dressed never hurt anyone. Just make sure to spend the majority of your day playing with toys, and running around outside IN THE REAL WORLD!

elism... elismom122003

My son has high functioning autism and he watches noggin, which I believe to consist of all educational shows that are age appropriate. He is 5 of course, but he has been watching it for about 6 months or so and his speech has actually improved drastically and I believe it is of course therapy and noggin that have helped. He hasn't just learned words, but how to use those words in context with the situation he is in, that has been his biggest speech problem and noggin has really helped.

Agent... AgentBrez

i do try to limit tv but that doesnt mean its never on. i generally let my toddler watch seasame street in the morning and maybe 30 mins in the late afternoon-- you know that time of day when just need something and you are trying to cook dinner?? there were times in the past when i would shower and put the tv to distract my toddler and baby but now i am generally up and ready before they wake up. i read a book about tv viewing and even the author was realtic that no one should expect parents to NEVER allow their kids any tv or videos.

1-10 of 38 comments 1234 Last