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How much does watching TV affect babies and toddlers?


Catdancer

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My 3 month old loves to watch the images on TV. Especially cartoons like SpongeBob and the Fairly Odd Parents. My bf watches the Flintstones (the old 70's ones) with him alot.

 

It makes me wonder how much they take in. I have to admit that I was watching My Bloody Valentine in 3D and I was feeding him at the same time. I didnt realize it but my son was glued to the TV screen watching the horror movie! OOPS! I dont know if that was good or bad. Can it cause them to have bad dreams when they are infants? I wonder if it has any bad lasting affects on them.

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I think a little bit of it is just fine. But tv doesn't interact like real life does. I wouldn't substitute tv for a large amount of playtime with human beings.

 

And I would definitely avoid the horror movies!! Babies soak up things like sponges.

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Oh, we dont just plunk him down and ignore him! lol But we will put him in his swing or bouncer and we'll all watch TV and play with him or rock him at the same time. He is content sitting by himself for about 15 to 20 minutes. After that he gets antsy and wants to know where everyone is!

 

I was just wondering if shows or movies with violence in them would have an affect on him. We were at his aunt's house (she baby sits at least 2 times a week for us) and they were watching ultimate fighter and the baby was in his bouncer seat and he was glued to the TV. Kicking and waving his little fists.

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From The American Association of Pediatrics:

 

“Children of all ages are constantly learning new things. The first 2 years of life are especially important in the growth and development of your child's brain. During this time, children need good, positive interaction with other children and adults. Too much television can negatively affect early brain development. This is especially true at younger ages, when learning to talk and play with others is so important.

 

Until more research is done about the effects of TV on very young children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend television for children age 2 or younger. For older children, the Academy recommends no more than 1 to 2 hours per day of educational, nonviolent programs. “

 

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As above there have been studies to show that television and even Baby Einstein adversely effect a child's development. Babies learn SO MUCH MORE by interacting with people and the world. They are losing that valuable time when they are plugged in front of the TV.

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The most recent study I've read on the subject found that TV did not positively, nor negatively affect the brain development infants. I'm not sure on toddlers.. but basically an infant (under 1 year) might be attracted to the flashing colours, but they aren't going to be made stupid, nor made into a genious. Of course, if you want to get analytical, then time watching TV is time not doing other things which could positively affect the child, but that's getting into semantics.

 

One thing I've noticed is that my 11 month old has never had interest to "watch" tv, but has LOVED tv show credits since he was about 6 months old. Perhaps its the scrolling animation + black/white (infants like contrast of black/white)... and he has always loved music (since he was new born) so that is a contributer too. But its hilarious.. he'll stop whatever it is he's doing - right in the middle of playing - when he hears music from a familiar tv show credits sequence, and just stares mesmorized at the TV. And heaven forbid you get IN THE WAY.. he must see that rolling text or there will be hell to pay.

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Violence on tv definitely affects them. If my daughter sees someone get hurt on tv, she'll become upset. If she sees people showing affection, she'll come over and hug us. She did this when she was only a few months old.

 

Also, I've read that television is overstimulating to babies. Thus, they should only watch a few minutes per day. Movies made for babies are best, as they have simple, calm pictures.

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I think that people confuse causation with correlation... I think a lot of people that plop their kids in front of the TV, use it as a babysitter to avoid intereacting with their kids and to give themselves a break.... Therefore the kid is not getting the interaction with their parents/peers... and THAT will effect their development..

 

Having your kid watch TV every once and awhile is probably not going to make much of a difference as long as you aren't using it as a babysitter.....

 

I don't have kids, but this is just what I'm thinking and I've done research on the effects of violent media on teenagers, but not infants~

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I honestly, feel that it is the parent, and I whole-heartedly subscribe to the philosophy that good parenting out weighs a majority of life’s chaos. I feel that children should be exposed to a controlled amount of negativity, so that when they are confronted with certain situations they will know how to react to it. Repeatedly I have seen the downward spiral of individuals who were placed in a worldly atmosphere due to their sheltered upbringing.

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I read somewhere that infants are very sensitive to face/body relationships, and if show faces where parts are in the wrong place and not symmetrical, get agitated. So i think horror shows where people's bodies are mutilated can have a negative effect on infants because they are just learning spatial relationships.

 

I've also read that watching violence does increase incidents of hitting/violence among toddlers and older kids and does decrease empathy for pain/suffering in others.

 

I wouldn't let my kids watch horror movies with violence or mutilation for that reason. They have a hard time distinguishing between reality and fantasy until much older, and you don't want them think that mutilation/violence is acceptable for themselves.

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As above there have been studies to show that television and even Baby Einstein adversely effect a child's development. Babies learn SO MUCH MORE by interacting with people and the world. They are losing that valuable time when they are plugged in front of the TV.

 

This is based on the assumption that if they weren't in front of the TV, that mom would be engaged with them EVERY MINUTE, which isn't realistic.

 

IMO content matters and moderation is key. Of course you don't use it as a baby-sitter, but a baby Einstein can amuse and delight a baby, while keeping them safe while mom folds the laundry, or goes to the toilet...I mean seriously, my mom would put us in our playpens for hours when we were kids, but 10 minutes watching an Einstien is going to retard their intellectual growth?

 

We live in a media rich environment. Books, radio, computer, TV, video games, Ipods etc....Kids need to learn to consume the media intelligently. IMO, certain educational dvd's can be part of parent-child time as well. The Baby Einstein Co. doesn't advocate you leaving the child to watch alone either, they suggest you watch with them, interact with them, much like you would reading them a book...

 

I don't let my kids watch much tv at all. Mostly limited to rainy/sick days and whatever the babysitters allow (less than once a month), but I think it is possible to incorporate SOME tv into your baby/toddler/preschoolers life, if you do so with careful deliberation as to content.

 

I wouldn't let a baby watch adult content though. For me, the thing is, you don't know what/how their brain is processing it, and ultimately, it can lead to a habit where you stop thinking about what they're viewing with the false sense of security that "they can't understand it, so it won't affect them" And you may one day realize that you 4 year old is watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre, without flinching...

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This is based on the assumption that if they weren't in front of the TV, that mom would be engaged with them EVERY MINUTE, which isn't realistic.

 

Who suggested that the mother had to be involved EVERY MINUTE? I was pointing out the results of studies done with kids who received a lot of "Baby Einstein" time in comparison to kids who spent a lot of time interacting and exploring the world. The results of the studies showed clear as day that the children allowed to interact with the world rather than be "taught" by TV or Baby Einstein grew to smarter.

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my pediatrician showed me some studies that children under 2 who ROUTINELY watched TV every day actually had smaller vocabularys than children who watched TV less than once a week, and another study that showed children under 2 who watched a person on TV perform an act [say, taking something from a box] took more time watching to repeat the action than children who watched a LIVE person perform the same act. she also said that in her opinion, if you are going to let your child be exposed to TV, be very careful about what it is, because it can scare the children if they can't understand what is going on.

 

that said, my son who is now 14 months watches very limited TV. i would say maybe 2 times a month. sometimes we will watch the rugrats movies together and last week i rented an elmo movie to watch, but we watched TOGETHER. i think together is a big part of it. talk to them while watching about what is going on can help the learning.

 

i do not think that getting an extra 15 minutes for dinner or bathroom while kid watches something safe is going to ruin the child nor does it make a bad mother.

 

bad parenting comes in when most of the child's day is TV and they lack the social interaction needed to really grow and develope.

 

i would be careful with what your son watches, even this early. he probably doesn't understand it, which could actually be worse. dreams are the mind trying to make sense of the day, and i definitely think he could get bad dreams from something he can't understand. when my husband was watching a horror movie in the bedroom the other day, my son and i stayed in the living room and kitchen. my brother wanted to play Grand theft auto [which has tons of violence etc in it] with my son in the room and i said no.

 

so just be careful and use common sense really. TV isn't a baby sitter. neither is the internet/computer for that matter, which is also becoming a growing trend these days.

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so just be careful and use common sense really. TV isn't a baby sitter. neither is the internet/computer for that matter, which is also becoming a growing trend these days.

 

This sums everything up perfectly. Done in moderation, it's certainly just fine. It simply shouldn't be used as a substitute for human interaction.

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I use TV in moderation with my child (he'll be 2 soon). No more than 1 hour a day, sometimes 2 on a rare occasion, if it is a rainy day and we are running out of things to do. But even then I only let him watch programs that are designed for kids his age and have some educational content- like Sesame Street. He likes shows with lots of music the best.

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  • 6 years later...

Television is one of the most prevalent media influences in kids’ lives.It has both positive and negative effects on kdis. Plan the week’s TV watching schedule in advance with the children

 

Negative impact of watching TV on kids

Increases obesity and unhealthy eating habits.

This TV watching might Promote smoking and alcohol use.

 

Positive impact of watching TV on kids

Some TV shows can educate, inform and inspire.

Some children’s programs may teach appropriate social behavior.

 

The below article has a detailed information about effects of TV watching on kids:

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Funny Baby Quotes For New Parents: KAVEESH MOMMY

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