One of the most controversial topics of debate among soon-to-be mothers, new mothers, and already existing mothers are whether there is any effects, positive or negative, to allowing your child time on the television. I, myself, was part of the TV generation, watching TV as I grew up – the likes of Barney the Dinosaur and Sesame Street would come to mind. There wasn’t a day in my childhood that I wouldn’t be watching TV. Whether this had any effect on me or not, I’m already passed the point to care. However – brace yourselves – the American Academy of Pediatrics claim that there are no “educational television” programs for children under the age of 2.
For a long time, the American Academy of Pediatrics has urged parents not to allow their young children any “TV time.” Apparently, this is due to the fact that there have not been enough studies conducted that report the effects of television on a child’s developing brain. They cautioned that due to this, there might be some detrimental effects that we are not aware of. However, great advances in technology has now rendered such studies possible, and now, we have an answer.
To this, recent research from the AAP has surfaced concerning the TV’s effects on young children, typically under the age of 2. Their experiment involved exposing babies in the ages of 6 months, 12 months, and 18 months to television. What they did was they played an “educational video” made for babies normally, and then in reverse. While they watched the videos, the researchers observed their brains and measured to see any differences indicating how the babies reacted to the video.
The results came out soon, and it was shown that only the older babies actually reacted to and cared on whether the video was played forward or backward, which meant that the younger babies didn’t even had the brain capacity to process what was happening on the TV. With them not being able to process anything, there would be no educational benefits or learning involved.
So how is this harming learning development in children? Well, when they’re so focused on TV, there is no actual learning involved, while parents could be better spending their time with their children, interacting with them, which helps language and social skills development by leaps. The loss of this opportunity for development proposes that babies that had more social interaction while in the development stage have much more developed brains.
In this age, though, it isn’t possible to completely eliminate TV due to the fact that it permeates us greatly. However, what we should do is that we should certainly limit the amount of time we allow our children to be watching television, and additionally, not rely simply on “educational videos” when we could be assisting this development more effectively and efficiently ourselves.