Excerpts from American Baby article April 2000
I know this isn't a "no TV for kids under 2" thread, but just wanted to share the following:
The AAP has reviewed the issue and is advising against TV for babies under 2.http://www.aap.org/family/tv1.htm
I read a very interesting article in theApril 2000 issue of "American Baby" and I kept the issue. Here are some excerpts from that article.
·Doctors fear that prolonged exposure to the tube could impair babies' vision, hearing and attention span.
·"The fact that television's a good babysitter is not enough of a justification for using it when a TV habit might make it more difficult for a child to learn later on," asserts educational psychologist Jane Healy, PhD, author of Endangered Minds: Why Children Don't Think - and what We can Do about it (1999)
·Although there is little research on television's direct impact on a baby's neural growth, we do know that, in a baby under 2, parts of the brain are going through what's called "synaptic exuburance," during which there are twice as many synpases in the cerebral cortex as there were during adulthood. Babies are absoring the world at warp speed, and this is the most critical period for language and visual development. Also, at around 18 months, the front right part of the baby's brain - which controls the way he relates to other people - hits a vital developmental period.
·"Television can't really be used as downtime for babies because it's full of overwhelming sounds and flashing colors," says Susan Johnson, MD a behavioral and developmental pediatrician. "Babies are born with eyes developed to look at the human face, so downtime for them means quiet, calm snuggling with their mother or father." Dr. J suggests, let your baby lie on a blanket and watch light stream into a room, or sit her outside where she can take in the sights and smells of the outdoors.
·Contrary to parents' hopes or beliefs that television can actually teach kids somethings, such as the alphabet or new vocabulary words, most experts say that kids under 2 get so absorbed in the visual stimulation of the TV that they tune out most of the words entirely.
·Lise Eliot, PhD, author of What's Going on in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life(1999), cites a study in which pediatricians regularly placed the hearing children of deaf parents in front of "Sesame Street" to see whether they'd learn to speak. They didn't.
·"Babies learn language by talking to real, live people." Dr. Eliot says. "Research shows that babies will listen to a television but won't process the noises at the same level as if someone where speaking to them." So if you are counting along with the television character, your child may begin to pick up numbers, but he probably won't learn them from the show alone.
·In addition, some experts feel that the poor sound quality coming from a television may actually impair a child's hearing if he's around it long enough.
·"Listening to noises kept on one basic plane--at the same volume level and coming from just one source -isn't a good way to get sound." says Dr. Johnson. "In nature, sound is coming from all around. But with TV, children learn to turn off background noises. Then later on, when they're away from the television, it can be harder for them to tell where sounds are coming from."
·Also, Dr. J says, because television is just a stationary box, young children aren't getting vital eye exercise when they watch it. While staring at the flat, two-dimensional screen, they're pulled away from three-dimensional activities.
·Skipping out on those diversions is a critical loss, since such play can help a child's 3D vision, which is maturing up until the age of 4, says Dr. Johnson.
·"When people have had eye surgery, they're told to watch TV because it fixes their eyeball in one place so it can heal. But if you show television often to a child too young to read, the growth of the eyeball can be distorted. All of the sudden, he'll go to the first grade and be asked to read something left to right, and his eyes will feel fatigued."
·A baby's eyes become locked to the screen because the images change every five or six seconds and require constant attention. Which leads to another problem: "If they're watching rapidly changing images, I don't think (babies) can process them quickly enough. We may be miswiring their attention systems." says Dr. Eliot.
·If a baby becomes accustomed to seeing a continual stream of action, then when she's not watching TV, her eyes might jump around the room to catch the next engaging visual change.
·"Normal infant activities like playing with a toy or looking at a person promot a longer visual attention span away from the TV." Dr. Eliot says.
·"In the brain, there's a survival response that causes us to pay attention to something fast-paced," says Gloria DeGaetano, author of Screen Smarts: A Family Guide to Media Literacy (1996) and the director of GrowSmartBrains.com, an education and resource organization. "Our nervous systems are revved up by the visual onslaught, but we stay sitting still. "This affects the youngest kids the most. They get a lot of pent up energy and anxiety from watching TV; then they act out just to burn it all off," DeGaetano says.