Duh! Study: TV Doesn't Help or Hurt Toddlers

Cynthia Dermody

infant and toddler TV viewingApparently, researchers have not yet reached a consensus on the whole TV viewing and toddlers thing, because there's ANOTHER new study out that finds, well, pretty much what all the previous studies have found: Watching the tube is not going to turn your tyke into Einstein.

I'm sure you already knew this. Time spent with books and playing with mom is much more educational that staring zombie-like in front of a screen.

In fairness to the researchers, from Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School, this study claims to be the first to investigate the long term associations between infant TV viewing from birth to 2 years old and both language and visual-motor skill test scores at 3 years of age. Both children who watched TV and those who didn't did equally well or poor on tests for those skills.

What I found most interesting, though, was while the study showed that increased infant TV exposure is of no benefit to cognitive development, it was also found to be of no detriment. The overall effects of increased TV viewing time were neutral.

The researchers did not measure the actual CONTENT, however. Personally, I feel this is the linchpin, the thing that makes the biggest difference in a child's cognitive abilities, but also in social skills, attitudes toward others, and a child's "innocence factor."

Some shows geared to toddlers are just not appropriate for them in my opinion -- the edits are too fast and the concepts way too scary or adult. I can see the naivete in my kids compared to others who watch a lot of violent or upper-age bracket programs, and I love it.

But even if this study found that TV turns children into mass murderers, I'll wager a week's pay that many moms would still plop their little ones down in front of it from time to time. I know I would. As much as I try to avoid it, my house would not be able to run if I didn't get those pockets of time to get food on the table, return a phone call, or get a wash in.


Do you think the TV shows toddlers watch today (SpongeBob, Power Rangers) are better for them than shows from the past (Popeye, Tom & Jerry)?

Only CafeMom members can vote on polls.
Sign up for an account or Click here to log in.

Total Votes: 126

View Results

Read More