Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

40 percent of 3-month-old infants are regularly watching TV, DVDs or videos

08.05.2007
A large number of parents are ignoring warnings from the American Academy of Pediatrics and are allowing their very young children to watch television, DVDs or videos so that by 3 months of age 40 percent of infants are regular viewers.

That number jumps to 90 percent of 2-year-olds, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Washington and Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute. The findings are being published today in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

The study is the first to look at the trajectory of media viewing in the first two years of life and to explore the content of what is being watched. The research also explores parents' reasons for permitting it. "Exposure to TV takes time away from more developmentally appropriate activities such as a parent or adult caregiver and an infant engaging in free play with dolls, blocks or cars," said Frederick Zimmerman, lead author of the study and a UW associate professor of health services.

"While appropriate television viewing at the right age can be helpful for both children and parents, excessive viewing before age 3 has been shown to be associated with problems of attention control, aggressive behavior and poor cognitive development. Early television viewing has exploded in recent years, and is one of the major public health issues facing American children."

Co-authors of the study are Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a pediatrics researcher at Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute and a UW associate professor of medicine, and Andrew Meltzoff, co-director of the UW's Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences.

"This study is important because it teaches us about the media diet of infants who are too young to speak for themselves. Most parents seek what's best for their child, and we discovered that many parents believe that they are providing educational and brain development opportunities by exposing their babies to 10 to 20 hours of viewing per week," said Meltzoff, a developmental psychologist who is the Job and Gertrud Tamaki endowed chair in psychology at the UW.

"We need more research on both the positive and negative effects of a steady diet of baby TV and DVD viewing. But parents should feel confident that high-quality social interaction with babies, including reading and talking with them, provides all the stimulation that the growing brain needs. It's not as though TV or a DVD provides an extra vitamin of some kind in the first two years of life, where we concentrated our research in this study. This area is one in which science, health and public policy all meet. We need to get our facts right so we can productively advise parents who so desperately want to do the right thing."

The researchers conducted random telephone surveys of more than 1,000 families in Minnesota and Washington with a child born in the previous two years, and found the median age at which infants were regularly exposed to media was 9 months. Among those who watched TV, DVDs or videos, the average daily viewing time jumped from one hour per day for those children younger than 12 months to more than 1½ hours a day by 24 months. The three most important and common reasons cited by parents for allowing their children to watch TV, DVDs or videos were:

- 29 percent believed these media were educational or were good for the child's brain.

- 23 percent said viewing was enjoyable or relaxing for the child.

- 21 percent used these media as an electronic babysitter so they could do other things.

Even though educational content was the top reason given by parents, only about half the infant viewing time was reported to be in what researchers classified as a children's educational category. This included educational TV programs such as "Sesame Street" and "Arthur" and DVDs or videos such as "Blue's Clues." The remaining viewing time was roughly split among children's non-educational programs, baby DVDs or videos and grown-up television.

Although parents believe in the educational value of TV, DVDs and videos, just 32 percent of parents always watched with their children. Parents also had an inflated idea of how much of these media other children were watching and believed that their children viewed less than the average amount. The study indicated that the perceived average viewing for other families is 73 percent higher than the actual average.

"At the end of the day the amount of TV viewing is based on what parents think is normal," said Zimmerman.

"Perceptions of norms tend to shape behavior even if those norms are inflated."

So what can parents do to reduce the amount of time their kids spend in front of the tube? Zimmerman has several suggestions.

"Parents often turn to TV for a break. A better suggestion would be to provide kids with simple activities to do. When parents are cooking, for example, they could have a low drawer with plastic dishes or wooden spoons available that a child can play with or make noise. This gives the child something to be engaged with while taking pressure off the parent.

"A parent can also enjoy reading a fun or familiar book to a child," he said. "The child benefits from being close while the parent can get a breather. Children thrive on physical closeness." Zimmerman and Christakis are the authors of the book "The Elephant in the Living Room, Make Television Work for Your Kids" and Meltzoff is co-author of "The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us about the Mind."

Joel Schwarz | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.washington.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

From Hannover around the world and to the Mars: LZH delivers laser for ExoMars 2020

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Borophene shines alone as 2-D plasmonic material

21.11.2017 | Materials Sciences

Penn study identifies new malaria parasites in wild bonobos

21.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>