According to a new policy statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children below two years old should have minimal, if not zero, access and exposure to television programs. This includes even those TV shows deemed educational for young kids, as the AAP points out that no studies have actually confirmed the benefits of TV viewing for young children. They further cited that TV viewing before bedtime could actually lead to sleep problems in children.
TV for kids below 2 years old
Pertinent data was used to illustrate how TV can actually impede a child’s development - of toddlers, in particular.
The problem lies in the fact that the child may not yet be equipped mentally to understand what they’re watching, and to actually pay attention to what they’re watching. Dr. Ari Brown from the AAP, a pediatrician from Austin, Texas, and lead author of the new policy statement, shares that studies have shown that kids below 1 ½ years old react the same way to a TV program whether it’s played forward or backward. Older children, on the other hand, appreciate the TV program more if it’s played the right way.
Educational DVDs for babies and toddlers, even if just played in the background, could actually distract them from playtime activities which are more beneficial to learning. With this, the AAP strongly discourages parents from letting their kids below 2 years old watch TV, but says video games and smart phone applications, which are considered more active type of activities, may be a better choice.
The sad reality, though, based on a 2007 study, is that 90 percent of American parents actually let their kids below 2 years old watch certain types of media at an average of one to two hours per day, showing mostly educational programs. In addition to the findings, by age 3, almost one third of these kids already have a TV set in their bedrooms.