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.?