Some parents worry that TV watching may harm their baby’s development. While other parents think encouraging babies to watch educational TV may make them smarter. New research shows that neither is true.
A report on Reuters says that TV may do no harm or good to babies. According to a new study reported about in the journal Pediatrics, researchers did not find evidence that the amount of time spent watching television influenced the developmental progress – positively or negatively – of the children in the study.
The babies in the study took vocabulary, object matching and pegboard tests at age six months and again at age three. The babies who watched more television performed poorer on the tests at age three, but this may have had more to do with the mother’s socioeconomic level than the TV watching itself. When the researchers adjusted for the mother’s education, vocabulary and other socioeconomic factors, they did not see a correlation between TV watching and the developmental progress of the kids at age three.
The survey showed that 68% of babies under two watch some type of screen media, either TV or the computer during a typical day. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends that children under age two not watch television at all.
Another study, however, found that TV watching did affect children’s verbal ability but the effects of TV watching in that study were not seen until age 6. It could be hard to evaluate the effects on children at age 3 because they are not as verbal at this age or perhaps more harm is done when TV is viewed between the ages of 2 and 3. Even though the new research might be reassuring to parents, it still may leave them wondering whether or not watching TV is bad for kids.