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 Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells

22.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>