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Doctors Recommend Against TV For Kids Under 2 210

Posted by Soulskill
from the and-don't-let-them-drive dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a recommendation to parents that kids under the age of two should be limited in their time watching television and using computers. They say there's 'no such thing' as educational programming for kids that young, and that they benefit much more from real human interaction (PDF). Psychologist Georgene Troseth said, 'We know that some learning can take place from media, but it's a lot lower, and it takes a lot longer.' The article continues: 'Unlike school-age children, infants and toddlers "just have no idea what's going on" no matter how well done a video is, Dr. Troseth said. The new report strongly warns parents against putting a TV in a very young child's room and advises them to be mindful of how much their own use of media is distracting from playtime. In some surveys between 40 and 60 percent of households report having a TV on for much of the day — which distracts both children and adults, research suggests.'"
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Doctors Recommend Against TV For Kids Under 2

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  • Yeah... (Score:4, Informative)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @10:20PM (#37757810) Homepage Journal

    I think most of TV is below the 2 year-old mentality.

  • by hack slash (1064002) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @10:20PM (#37757812)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXV-yaFmQNk [youtube.com]

    Do you laugh or do you weep for the future.
  • by j-stroy (640921) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @10:37PM (#37757936)
    My 2 year old daughter loves ( L - O - V - E - S - !) the Fiest 1,2,3,4 Sesame Street video [youtube.com] and has watched it since she was a little younger than 1. She dances and sings and it has never gotten old. In the beginning she was so enamoured with it, it was like watching those old movies of Beatles fans grasping their heads and shrieking with delight. She'd wave at the characters and definitely was interpretting it right from the start. It had less than 7 million hits a year ago, and at 14 million and counting, I am sure she is not the only fan.

    Introducing music to kids is great and I'd add that its fun for me to do too.. I'd have to say that this is different than plugging her into a TV set to watch the eye-candy slackjawed n drooling and I noted the ADHD link with fast edit kids media recently It is a much more interactive thing where she picks her favourite videos to watch as a treat. We talk about the characters and animals and sometimes do drawings after. Another favorite is a Woody Guthrie classic [youtube.com] and we sing it together sometimes. She digs the iPad since she can click on suggested videos at the end of one... OF course it is a supervise activity.
    • by SomePgmr (2021234)
      Thanks, jerk. I'm going to have this song in my head for a month. ;)
      • by nullchar (446050)

        What's funny is the Sesame St video is of much higher quality on YouTube. (Also, I like the song better than the original too and so does my 1.8 yr old toddler.)

    • I'm in the same boat. My daughter is 1 1/2 and loves sesame street. I keep tv to a minimum and always sit with her, but honestly, I don't really get the arguments that always focus on the educational value of TV. Isn't it ok to want to just wind down sometimes after a long day, even for children?

      Not every second needs to be filled with learning. I can see times where my child is almost overstimulated from a long day and will wind down a bit when I give her the choice (yes she understands choices at this

      • Oh, also my daughter tends to prefer the Will.I.Am song they did: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyVzjoj96vs [youtube.com] :)

        • by nullchar (446050)

          So does my toddler; when we say "strong" he flexes his bicep like will.i.am. Though when comparing this with Feist's, if you pause at the end of hers you can tell she was super-happy about doing the performance, while it seemed [at first] that Will.i.am was hung-over or really tired and kinda bored looking. Upon many views later, I've mostly decided he's trying to downplay his "pumped up & party" persona (though he still probably hit it hard the night before :). There are many popular songs that artist

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QH2-TGUlwu4 (Nyan Cat) has proved an excellent distraction technique for my littlest when she is upset. Very useful for when we're waiting for her bottle to cool, or similar.

      (ps, how the bloody hell do you post links on this godawful new AJAX abomination of a comment system? <a href= didn't work!)
    • Woah..

      That is a great way for a musician to build brand recognition...

  • by assantisz (881107) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @10:42PM (#37757976)
    The AAP has always been extremely conservative when it comes to children and TV. No surprise about the new findings here. As always, you have to take these findings with a huge grain of salt. Apply common sense and your kids will be fine. I know that mine are even though they watched a boat-load of TV when they were still toddlers (what kid would not appreciate a bit of Sesame Street or The Wiggles?). Now they are in elementary school and way too busy to watch anything and they are a-okay with that.
    • by gnu-sucks (561404)

      Is it a "boat-load" or a "bit"?

      See, this is what matters. I agree, it's not a surprise that keeping the TV on all day is detrimental to developing minds. Common sense? That sounds fine.

      So why do we need a "huge grain" of salt? Your quantities are very confusing.

      • by assantisz (881107)
        Agreed. It is up to you as a parent what you feel comfortable with. If you believe too much TV is detrimental your child's development you restrict it. As long as we don't judge each other what we do with our own children that's perfectly fine by me. I just think (my very own personal opinion) that the AAP has always been way too conservative when it comes to things what's good and what's not good for our children. They do have an agenda they follow which I don't agree with.
    • by rolfwind (528248)

      Now they are in elementary school and way too busy to watch anything and they are a-okay with that.

      Way too busy? Of their own accord or being loaded down by work?

      • by assantisz (881107)
        By after school activities of their own choosing (dance and swimming) and some that we as parents want them to do (mostly religious education). The rest of the time is taken up by homework and of course downtime. TV usually stays off all day on school days mostly because nobody is missing it.
        • By after school activities of their own choosing (dance and swimming) and some that we as parents want them to do (mostly religious education). The rest of the time is taken up by homework and of course downtime. TV usually stays off all day on school days mostly because nobody is missing it.

          You're effectively going against what the article originally states. You're paying attention to your kids. You're giving them human interaction. You're also giving them a structure to follow. The article refers to parents who try to let the TV do the teaching. Long version short, you're one of the many 1-offs.

  • As compared to... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gerf (532474) <edtgerf@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @10:48PM (#37758024) Journal
    Back in the day, parents would keep kids sequestered in playpens so that parents could get chores done easier. While TV is probably not the best answer, is there ever a good answer to distracting kids so you can do laundry, make food, take a shower or other necessary tasks?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by nrozema (317031)

      is there ever a good answer to distracting kids so you can do laundry, make food, take a shower or other necessary tasks?

      Playpens with TVs?

      • by syousef (465911)

        is there ever a good answer to distracting kids so you can do laundry, make food, take a shower or other necessary tasks?

        Playpens with TVs?

        For our kids that works about as well as caging any animal. They scream and cry and carry on. Would you want your managers to put you in a cage at work. (Granted hopefully you're better at looking after yourself than an infant).

        • by Riceballsan (816702) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @11:29PM (#37758282)
          I take it you've never had to work in a cubical before.
        • Re:As compared to... (Score:4, Informative)

          by smellotron (1039250) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @01:40AM (#37758806)

          For our kids that works about as well as caging any animal. They scream and cry and carry on.

          The biggest problem I see here is that you should approach this as crating your child, not caging him (or her). A proper crate should be more or less covered to act as a sort of "den" or "cave" in which your child may seek refuge. You should feed your child in his (or her) crate to train him (or her) to develop positive associations. Please note that because it is a refuge, your child must be allowed and encouraged to urinate outside of the crate rather than soil his (or her) own den. Over time, you'll find that the screaming subsides and your child will be able to spend more time in the crate—up to 8 hours, if you must work away from home—without issues.

      • by larien (5608)
        Bastard... I only just managed to avoid coating my monitor with coffee...
    • [...] is there ever a good answer to distracting kids so you can do laundry, make food, take a shower or other necessary tasks?

      This finding seems to be specifically about kids two and under. It's not that hard to wrangle those kids and make dinner at the same time. They will slow you down for sure, but, for much of the time they can't even walk. The thought of an 11-month-old being plopped in front of a TV or a tablet for "much of the day" frankly makes me sad.

      • by darjen (879890) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @11:39PM (#37758330)

        You have obviously never had kids. You have NO idea how rowdy they start getting around dinner time.

        • You have obviously never had kids. You have NO idea how rowdy they start getting around dinner time.

          I have multiple kids and no spouse, so I think I am familiar with how to handle making dinner among kids of various ages.

        • by smolloy (1250188)
          I have two kids, and no TV, and it really isn't so frighteningly difficult to get stuff done that I want to have a TV babysit them. I agree with the GP -- the thought of an 11 month old sitting in front of a TV or a tablet for extended periods really makes me sad.
          • by darjen (879890)

            I kind of agree with you about extended periods. I still play with my kids and read to them and take them to the zoo and the park and the library. But mixing in some TV time won't kill them either.

        • That depends on the reinforcement they got in the first six months. If you paid attention to them when they cried and ignored them when they didn't, they're likely to be unmanageable by the time that they're two. If you gave them more attention when they were quiet then they're going to be a lot better behaved. But you have kids, so you probably knew that already...
          • by darjen (879890)

            Of course they definitely still need a attention. I read to them every day, play trains, take them to the zoo, the park, and my wife does crafts with them while I am at work. We also go to the little gym. TV is not that bad as long as they aren't in front of it 24/7.

          • I'm calling baloney on this. Statistically, paying more attention to kids when they're younger likely makes them more independent as they grow up. However, the natural range of behavior from kid to kid varies dramatically, even from sibling to sibling who got the same 'treatment' growing up. When I hear comments like this, it's usually from parents who have lucked out with particularly well behaved children.

            I have two kids...one very well behaved and self sufficient, and one very clingy who wants to
        • Especially if they've been sitting around all day watching' stuff...

    • by quenda (644621)

      Playpens _are_ the answer, if you want to interact with an under-2, while working with dangerous tools (cooking, ironing, soldering).
      Even a crawling baby can move very fast.
      Though these days, with open-plan homes, it is usually easier to put a gate on the kitchen area and have the parent in the pen.

    • by bryan1945 (301828)

      Proper parenting would be to put the child in a playpen with a badger. Teaches the kids to be ready for Thunderdome in about 30 years.

    • In times gone by women worked the field and carried their babies with them. As the children learned to walk to would first play work and soon work for real.

      Or are you talking of days gone by in which very young children were send down the mines because they fit in the narrowest spaces, don't get paid much and nobody cared to much if they died?

      What yesterday are you talking about?

  • This is just stupid (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Belial6 (794905)

    infants and toddlers "just have no idea what's going on" no matter how well done a video is

    This is just plain stupid. It isn't even a good lie. The "The American Academy of Pediatrics" us a self selecting group. It is one that has always seen TV as evil. My son was beating multiple levels of Pac-Man before he was 1 year old. Literally before he could walk. There is no way that this would have been possible if children couldn't understand what was happening on the screen before the age of 2.

    Anyone that has bothered to talk to an 18 month old knows that they understand what is going on on

    • Put them in a cage with the people who advocate against TV for kids under 2 because of the marketing effects and watch the idiocy feedback levels reach supercriticality.

  • by syousef (465911) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @11:07PM (#37758142) Journal

    This is just nonsense.

    My son wouldn't talk till he was over 2 years old. We were starting to worry. Then he discovered Thomas the Tank Engine. Suddenly he wanted to say the names of the engines and he learnt his colours too. That led to shapes. At 3 he's now on to identifying numbers on the sides of the engines, he's got an incredible imagination. With no prompting he drew a passable clown face on his face when momentarily left alone with a texter (and showed how he'd close his eyes when he was warned that he could poke his eyes out). He's been to the circus exactly twice. I'll bet he got that from TV. He knows some letters because he's learnt H is for horn for example when we play Trainz with Thomas characters, or that you hit W to go forward. He has limited mouse and keyboard skills but his comprehension impresses me. He goes to preschool now so that's helping his social development. He is not allowed to sit there and do nothing but watch TV. My wife plays and draws and bakes cookies and everything else you would expect a young child do.

    My daughter's developing speech sooner. She's not 18 months old yet but she's asking for certain objects with abbreviated words "bub" for bubble etc. She loves TV shows too. She usually prefers to watch with her brother and she's a very social little creature indeed.

    Young children may not have the skills to understand at high level concepts, but they sure as hell can follow a kids TV show. And as long as it's not all they do, I think it's very important to their development.

    • This is just nonsense.

      My son wouldn't talk till he was over 2 years old. We were starting to worry. Then he discovered Thomas the Tank Engine. Suddenly he wanted to say the names of the engines and he learnt his colours too. [...]

      Billions and billions of kids have developed fine without any TV at all, it's not necessarily nonsense. There are always outliers and special circumstances that are contrary to "normal", but that is not to say that spending "much of the day" with a TV is helpful to most kids under two years old. There is a big difference between a kid who is over 2 years old discovering Thomas The Tank Engine compared to someone who has not even turned one spending much of the day watching TV.

      • by syousef (465911)

        Billions and billions of kids have developed fine without any TV at all, it's not necessarily nonsense. There are always outliers and special circumstances that are contrary to "normal", but that is not to say that spending "much of the day" with a TV is helpful to most kids under two years old. There is a big difference between a kid who is over 2 years old discovering Thomas The Tank Engine compared to someone who has not even turned one spending much of the day watching TV.

        I did not say that TV was a requirement for a child to develop, so why the straw man?

        All children should have limited time in front of the TV, because they should be out doing things with family and friends. But there is no way to severely restrict or eliminate TV, nor to suggest that it isn't a good avenue for learning.

        • by syousef (465911)

          No way you should severly restrict is what I meant to say.

        • I did not say that TV was a requirement for a child to develop, so why the straw man?

          All children should have limited time in front of the TV, because they should be out doing things with family and friends. But there is no way to severely restrict or eliminate TV, nor to suggest that it isn't a good avenue for learning.

          I did not intend a straw man at all. You seemed to be implying that TV was needed (or significantly helped) your son to develop speech, therefor this science is nonsense. I was countering that with the fact that your son was over 2, and this study is specifically about kids under 2. Also, for a ~2 year old who is not in school, "much of the day" must be like 6-8 hours.

          What works for your kids does not debunk general scientific guidance or support a position that it is nonsense. I'm glad you found some

          • by assantisz (881107)
            I am also in the camp that TV can help your child's mental development but it really depends on each individual child. It never is a necessity nor a requirement for raising smart children. It just doesn't hurt as the AAP, for example, is trying to tell us.
    • by ckhorne (940312) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @11:48PM (#37758368)

      I have to agree. I have a daughter who is 2 years old next month, and we allow about one hour of TV per day - about 30 mins in the morning and about 30 mins at night - enough for one or two of her favorite educational cartoons. She asks for them by name (clearly and persistently...), and I feel that as long as she's learning from them, then I'm ok with them.

      And learn she has. Everything from identifying airplanes, airports, dump trucks, numbers, colors to concepts like "on/off", "go/stop", etc. We're lucky to have my mother-in-law watch her every other day and she works with her constantly, so she gets plenty of direct people interaction.

      She's also allowed about 30 minutes of iPad time per day, which she loves - she plays games that identifies animals, concepts, and such. She can pick out and say aardvark, beaver, lemur, or any of 50 other non-basic animals from a large list of pictures in a matter of seconds. Critical life skills, no, but this is about learning the world around her.

      Having said all this - it's not about TV in particular. It's about what type of media they are exposed to, in what quantity, and the type. Moderation in everything, and this is no exception. Before I get raked over the coals, I'll state that she spends as much time daily with me outside in the grass, at the playground, at the pool, with her wooden blocks, etc, etc as she does watching TV. Again, it's not about the medium - it's about moderating exposure and parental involvement.

    • It's all about moderation, not this binary do or do not. My kid watched TV from around 1.5, but even today (he's now 5) he only gets 30-45mins a day, with 1 movie on the weekends.I have a friend who confesses that he and his wife used the TV as a nanny. Both kids are pretty smart, both kids play well, but what both my friend and I have noticed, is that my son is the first up with an idea for a game and his son is always happy to follow. I see this in a lot of other kids (I know I'm making a generalization h
    • by BitHive (578094)

      Let me counter your anecdote with two of my own. In the house of one of my childhood friends, multiple TVs were on almost 24 hours a day. You could not speak to any member of that family while in the same room as one of those TVs without their gaze migrating away from you and back to the TV.

      Needless to say, this was not a healthy family and it did not stay together long.

      My parents severely restricted my access to TV and incidentally I went to better schools and I earn more money than my childhood friends

    • by spicate (667270)

      And as long as it's not all they do, I think it's very important to their development.

      You've shared a nice anecdote, but I have one too. My 2 year old daughter watches zero TV and is doing pretty well. She speaks in full sentences ("daddy, come join us for breakfast"), counts to 13, knows her ABCs, can identify almost every animal at the zoo... whenever we're out in public people comment on how articulate she is.

      I'm not claiming she's exceptional or that her progress has anything to do with our avoidance of television. I think it's probably more about personal attention from her parents and

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @11:08PM (#37758146)

    it trains your mind to be led by something other than your mind itself.

    so even if television wasnt full of violence and myriad sexual innuendis (which it is), but instead filled only with decent people doing decent things, it would still exert a tremendous and unquantifiable amount of damage to the normal healthy mental fitness of any human cognitive enough to interpret any part of its message at any basic level.

    i hate to say it but technology has dehumanized humanity. many have seen it pervading the social fabric already, decades ago. they were ridiculed and derided by people much like myself until a few years ago when the evidence became too overwhelming for me to continue living a lie.

    our society is now filled with people that cannot concentrate on anything important for too long, seldom dwell on any actually important topic, and have very little desire to muse on anything. we all want fast paced, lots of colors, quick shallow messages that can be digested without any heavy mental thought given.

    i am reading a book right now that echos my feelings on this far better than i can articulate. it is called 'high tech heretic' by clifford stoll (better known for his non fiction book 'the cuckoos egg' when he tracked down hackers that were working for the kgb and were breaking into the vms / bsd box's at his university decades ago)

    • by syousef (465911)

      our society is now filled with people that cannot concentrate on anything important for too long, seldom dwell on any actually important topic, and have very little desire to muse on anything. we all want fast paced, lots of colors, quick shallow messages that can be digested without any heavy mental thought given.

      Funny, I thought we'd made some pretty ground breaking scientific discoveries, and tech had helped us all push the boundaries of both art and science. But I guess that's too glass half full for you?

      • by BitHive (578094)

        It is true that some individuals have and continue to achieve the things you mention. However, the parent is making a critique of our behavior as a group.

        While I neither agree nor disagree, your hasty reply intended to dismiss as pessimistic an opinion that hits close to home only seems to make his point wouldn't you say user 465911?

    • i am reading a book right now that echos my feelings on this far better than i can articulate...

      It's not because he watched less TV than you, he's just a better writer.

  • by rrohbeck (944847) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @11:32PM (#37758298)

    Just wondering. TV isn't just bad for babies.

  • by retroworks (652802) on Tuesday October 18, 2011 @11:34PM (#37758304) Homepage Journal
    Everyone has been exposed to TV since Howdy Doody and Clarabel the Clown. What the study shows is that human contact and caring - WITH or WITHOUT television - is goodness. If you substitute TV for empty room, good. Substitute TV for siblings fighting in living room, ok. Substitute TV for caring interactive parents? Bad, Maybe?
  • by NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) on Wednesday October 19, 2011 @12:45AM (#37758592)
    . . . another year to use the computer, you are out of your fucking mind!
  • I would have imagined limited watching of tv and computers would be recommended for people of all ages. Personally I limit tv to one hour a day and computers to a few hours a week even for my older child.
  • Its meaningless marketing. Find something almost all parents occasionally do thats mostly harmless, as the greeks said, all things in moderation. Make the parents feel guilty about it. While they feel bad, make some suggestions that are easier than burning the TV and are highly profitable, like maybe bring your child in for a checkup every 4 weeks from birth to 18 years. Also its hard core authoritarian trip, use guilt to prove their superiority and authority over the lowly stinking masses and use their

  • 'Unlike school-age children, infants and toddlers "just have no idea what's going on"

    That's why it's best to have them watch shows like the Teletubbies. That way, nobody of any age can figure out what's going on, and the toddlers don't feel like they're being left out.

  • I also recommend against TV for kids over 2. The overwhelming majority of it is a wasteland.

"Indecision is the basis of flexibility" -- button at a Science Fiction convention.

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